The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

What is College Really Like at a Private University in the United States?

Saul Pink, WIS Class of 2021, at the University of Michigan for the Northwestern versus. University of Michigan game with WIS Class of 2021 alumni Jonas Tomkin and Diego Maldonado, who attend the University of Michigan, and Alex Gatti Roaf, who attends the University of Chicago (left to right) (Courtesy of Saul Pink).

Alumnus Saul Pink, WIS Class of 2021, is a freshman at Northwestern University (NU) in Evanston, Illinois. Pink was a member of Dateline throughout high school and Editor-in-chief in his senior year (Pink’s articles).

Saul Pink, WIS Class of 2021, is a freshman at Northwestern University (NU) in Evanston, Illinois (Courtesy of Saul Pink).

Pink has enjoyed his time at NU so far. “I have had a lot of fun [and] met a lot of people,” Pink said. “Especially after COVID, everyone is very excited to be here. There’s definitely a good vibe on campus.”

Pink’s favorite part of college so far has been constantly being around and meeting new people his age . “I was at WIS since I was four years old,” he said. “I grew up with my friends and obviously I love my friends, but it has been nice to be with all new people who come from different countries, have different backgrounds and have different stories to tell.”

Saul Pink, WIS Class of 2021 (top, second to the left), with friends in Chicago, Illinois (Courtesy of Saul Pink).

Initially, Pink struggled with the switch to a bigger school after attending WIS his whole life.  “Going to a new place, a lot bigger of a place from WIS,… especially after COVID, when you’re spending a lot of time alone, was a bit of a shock at the beginning,” he said. 

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Pink addresses that because WIS is such a small, “tight-knit community,” going to college, even a small one, will be a social adjustment.

Also, being in a new college environment has been a challenge for Pink, and at times, he’s missed home. “When you think about it, it’s kind of crazy,” he said. “You’re shipped off to this place you’ve never been to before, where you don’t know anybody, away from home, living in this little room with another person.” 

Pink has also had to adjust to the dining hall food. “I am definitely starting to get sick of it,” he said. Yet, he still eats most of his meals there. “I’ve only gone out to eat a few times all quarter,” he said. This is because he lives on the part of campus furthest from downtown Evanston, where most of the restaurants are. Also, eating out is often more expensive and it can be hard to coordinate with people to go out to eat because of their different schedules.

Although Pink enjoys the independence that comes with college, learning how to manage his time has been his biggest challenge. “You’re given a number of things to do on your own time, there’s not as much structure, and you have to balance that with having a social life, joining clubs, getting enough sleep, and exercising,” he said. 

However, Pink thinks that WIS, and especially the IB program helped prepare them for the workload in college as it taught them to make sacrifices and manage their time. “If I have three or four days to write a 750-word essay for my history class, for some people that might be really daunting, but I think because of WIS I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ve done stuff like this. This isn’t that bad. I can do this,’” Pink said.

Notwithstanding, NU is the ninth-best college in the United States according to US News. “It’s very hard,” Pink said. “It’s a little of an intense environment sometimes. You’ll walk into the library, and it’s dead silent. [You] can’t find a seat because everybody’s in [there]. All the engineers are grinding for their midterms. And it’s like, ‘Whoa, everyone’s just going very hard.’”

Yet, Pink says even though everyone at NU is very smart and has many accomplishments, people don’t “flex” it or show off. “There’s not much beef going on, everyone is very collaborative,” he said.

Saul Pink, WIS Class of 2021 (center) during “March Through the Arch,” a Northwestern tradition where all the freshmen walk through an arch at the front of campus on move-in day to start their Northwestern experience (Courtesy of Saul Pink).

Pink continues his journalism career at NU and is majoring in journalism and is a reporter for NU and Evanston’s newspaper, The Daily Northwestern. “It’s a higher standard and it’s a little more rigorous,” he said. “But honestly, the way I approach a story is about the same,” he said.

The Daily Northwestern prints on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and releases news online on Tuesday and Thursday. “It’s a very intense, almost professional, full-time job for some people,” Pink said. All articles go through six editors who are in the newsroom from 6 pm to midnight at the earliest each night, putting out the paper. 

Pink doesn’t think that the college party culture shown in movies and shows reflects what college is really like. “The smaller interactions, like in the hallways, in the dining hall, just talking to someone in your lecture, going to grab food with people, small little, prosaic things are just as important as going to bars or to a huge party,” he said. 

Also, Pink doesn’t think that college is as cliquey as it appears to be. “You can do what you want,” he said. “Nobody’s judging you, nobody cares what clubs you do, or what your grades are, or who your friends are.”

Pink shares some advice to WIS students that are planning to go to college. “Don’t fret too much. You’re going to be fine,” he said. “Whatever college you go to, and wherever you end up, you’re going to figure it out.”

Look out for the next article in the series in which International Dateline reveals what college is really like at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), a public university in the United States.

By Zoe Hällström

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Zoe Hällström
Zoe Hällström, Managing Editor

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