While in the midst of my college search, I was VERY confused about the type of school I wanted to attend—and when I say type of school, I mean I had zero clue of where on the map I wanted to be or whether I wanted 25,000 classmates or 400. I did the whole “down south” college visit trip and quickly realized that I am far too obsessed with New Hampshire, so the Northeast would do just fine for me. Once the area was narrowed down, I knew too big of a school would be a culture shock for me (I came from a small Catholic school), so anything bigger than 10,000 undergraduates may give me a heart attack. This eliminated the big city schools for the most part. All of the city schools except for one..
Having a brother and sister who both graduated from schools that were very campus oriented, I knew I wanted that same natural type of community nurtured in campus living. My best friend from home was a freshman here at PC, so I came for my own personal tour and he showed me around. After driving away from this campus plopped right in the city, I was facing a tough decision, see-sawing back and forth between the last few options. With some more time to decide, I actually did make pro and con lists. We are always advised to do so when facing a difficult choice, but I knew writing down the positives and negatives of each school would be the only solution. PC was a small liberal arts college minutes from downtown Providence but having its own campus simultaneously. It was the type of place where you recognize faces but there is still room to meet new people each and every day. It was an hour and a half from home, not too close but not too far—only a car ride away. There was school spirit, pride in academics, extracurriculars and service and everything else I prided myself on up to this point in my life. It was a hard decision, one that of course I second guessed when Civ got tough or I missed my Mom’s cooking. But, it is a decision that I can now say was the best I’ve made. Now that I can appreciate what my parents have sacrificed sending me here, now that I realize how rare the friendships I’ve made here are, and now appreciating the fact that there are suitcase schools and PC is not one of them.
Especially during college visits, tours, and information sessions, future college students and their parents will hear the phrase “suitcase schools”. Essentially, the students attend the school for class and not much else. They head home on the weekends or off to other universities to visit friends. As a Providence College student, I can consistently rely on a weekend event, sporting event, or service project to keep me busy. “There’s nothing to do” are words that never come out of a PC student’s mouth. It is one of the many beauties of being a student here. No matter the day of the week, the weather or the season, there are very few weekends where suitcases are being packed and travel arrangements are being made. This past weekend was Columbus Day, a weekend known for students heading home, returning their summer clothes and bringing back their fall and winter clothes which they will wear for the upcoming weeks leading to Thanksgiving breaks. With the exception of long weekends and holidays, PC students love to be here. They love the close knit environment and a familiar face on campus. PC is a lot of things, but it is certainly not a suitcase school. In fact, it is a place where packing bags is a dreaded event and arrival back on campus is highly anticipated.