When you go to an urban college or university, the city becomes your campus. I based my college decision largely on the fact that the University of Pittsburgh is an urban school. The city is one of the major factors in why I love my school so much, but there are some downsides to going to an urban school.
In an urban school, your opportunities are not limited to what's available at your college. There are tons of organizations to get involved with, whether its jobs, volunteering, internships, or extracurricular activities. For example, in Pittsburgh, there are about three hospitals surrounding our school, so there are tons of opportunities to get involved in medical research or volunteering.
There is a downside to taking advantage of so many opportunities though, as it can be difficult to find a good school-life balance. Getting involved in research and volunteering has definitely enriched my learning experience, but has also made it more difficult for me to focus on my school work.
2. Exploring the City
When going to a school with an urban campus, you will never run out of stuff to do. Many urban schools offer free admissions to museums and free access to public transportation. This makes getting off campus to explore the city easy. You can quickly fill up your weekends by going on adventures to new restaurants, sports games, concerts and parks.
While checking out new areas of the city can be a ton of fun, you need to make sure that you won't get easily distracted from the whole reason you are there: school. To find a good balance between having fun and getting your school work done, I'd suggest you do one fun thing a week to get to know your new home better.
3. The Aesthetic of City Life
Cities have a certain ambiance that makes many people attracted to them. The city lights twinkling through the night, getting coffee at a small café and going thrift shopping fits into an aesthetic that is achievable at an urban campus. After growing up in a small town, being in an urban atmosphere is both intimidating and incredible. I love being able to walk a few blocks and end up at a cafe or a museum, but urban life does have its downsides as well.
In a city, there is inherently a lot of loud cars at night, which may keep you up until you have adjusted to the noise. There also potentially could be a lot of pollution and irritants in the air, which can negatively impact your breathing and your skin. You also need to be aware of what areas are safe to travel in at night, especially if you are alone.
4. Learning Valuable Lessons
Going to school in a city can literally make you more "street smart." You learn basics about navigating a city, how to handle and avoid sketchy situations, and better communication skills. While you may have to learn these lessons the hard way, like getting lost in the city, these lessons will definitely help you grow into a more cultured person.
5. Becoming Culturally Woke
On an urban campus, you are more likely to be confronted by new ideas and new people. You get the chance to see actual poverty and better understand societal issues related to income, race, and gender. This can be incredibly saddening, but college is the time to escape the bubble of your comfort zone and learn about what needs to be fixed to improve our society.
If you are considering going to school in an urban environment, I would strongly urge you to go. Going to school in a city has pushed me past what I had previously understood about the world and this has greatly enhanced my college experience.