Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The Difference in College

We moved Son Number One into the dorms at the University of Nevada, Reno this past weekend, and I have to tell you, college is much different than I remember. Here’s my top ten.

1.  They have Starbucks, Panda Express, Panera, and other national chains on campus. In the student union! Do you know what we had at our student union? A vending machine, and it didn’t even have sandwiches.

2.  They can use their meal plan to get food at Panda Express, Panera, etc. Do you know where I could use my meal plan? The cafeteria, and the “fancy place” next to the dorms, that looking back on it, served the exact same food as the cafeteria.

3.  The dorms are co-ed. Ours were too, but the building was divided in half, with doors and a lounge between the men’s side and the woman’s side. My son has female neighbors one door down. Dad me is a little concerned about that. College me is a little jealous about that.

4.  The on-campus parking in my day was one low price and every spot, no matter where it was, was first come, first served. His parking passes are color-coded with tiered pricing. The lowest cost one, which he has, allows him to only park his car at the far corners of campus, which appear to be in a different time zone than his dorm. We could have purchased a pass that would allow him to park in the nice parking garage twenty feet from his dorm, but then he wouldn’t be able to have a meal plan. Or tuition.

5.  They gave him an iPad. They gave every single student an iPad! Do you know what they did not give us? Our books. We had to buy those, and they were incredibly overpriced. And heavy. As far as computers went, we had floppy disks that were actually floppy, and we had to buy them ourselves. The only computers were at the library, and they were NOT portable.

6.  They had a welcome event at the football stadium and it had food trucks. Food trucks! On campus! Do you know when we had food trucks on campus? Never, because they hadn’t been invented yet.

7.  The dorm move-in was well scheduled and organized with day and time slots by floor and room number. Our dorms didn’t have a move-in schedule. They just told us to be there before classes started. I’m not even sure they told us where the dorms were. I think we just had to figure it out.

8.  They are actually teaching them things during orientation week, like good money management principles and study habits. Our “week of welcome” consisted of playing tag and capture the flag.

9.  Did I mention the delicious chain restaurants included in the meal plan and the co-ed dorms?

10.  The biggest difference between college then and college now, however, is that I’m paying for it this time! Yowza.

Have a great time, kid. I know I did.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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  1. Hysterical! Love that it's improved so much and that son number one gets to enjoy it all! Sound great! Ps - I just hope they don't use Lifetouch there!

  2. College Lifetouch pictures would be amazing! The kids would be teaching the Lifetouch employees how to take pictures.