When I was younger, I thought a school was a school and it didn’t really matter where you go, for college is for
drinking learning, and alcohol books never change*. My high-school counselor kept emphasizing the importance of location and how geography/geology is a valid reason to choose once school over another. Of course, I ignored this, for college is for the purpose stated above.
Thankfully, I’ve never had to suffer due to adherence to faulty doctrine as I’ve attended institutions that were very well planned. A good quality of education also attracts good people, so I was lucky to have learned and to have met so many friends.
That being said, I recently visited Stanford University and got a chance to drink some of that Kool-Aid. The result was that I got pretty drunk.
From portion of campus I saw, namely the area surrounding the Main Quad and the Engineering schools, I had the feeling that everything had an explicit purpose for existence and it was apparent from building design and organization. The surrounding geography was filled with green hills, wooded areas, and winding roads, which in my opinion gives a Harry Potter/Hogwarts sense of isolated wonder. Be it by design or just chance circumstance, Stanford was be built into a beautiful landscape.
I can imagine that one can benefit from all this as a student in that the intrinsic academic strength of a top school combined with the sense inspiring physical environment make work and life balanced. If I had been here for my schooling, I might have actually succeeded in doing that work-hard-play-hard mantra.
Having drank a serving of the Kool-Aid, I feel like I have to revise my old opinion that choice of schools doesn’t matter. I’m late to the party by finally realizing it, but I seriously doubt anyone has ever made a mistake by choosing an awesome university over an okay university. This part is obvious. What was not obvious is how much geography should be factored into considerations of school quality.