A changing campus creates a changing student
Students embrace the academic and personal obstacles attached to an expanding university.
By Spencer Main
When Courtlin Sherman got in line for his morning cup of coffee, he needed to crunch numbers before arriving to his accounting class. With 15 minutes before class and 20 people in front of him Sherman, contemplated the risk.
“If you go to Starbucks in the Ferg in the fall or spring, you’ll be there for a hour,” Sherman said. “It’s brutal.”
The University of Alabama stretches across 1,200 acres of Tuscaloosa. However, in the fall and spring, the space does not seem so large when a rush of students overwhelms daily life on campus.
As a transfer student from Texas A&M, Sherman said he understands the lifestyle that comes with attending a sprawling university. However Tuscaloosa brought unexpected delays to Sherman’s pursuit of academic success, he said.
“There’s only X amount of classes for X amount of students,” Sherman said. “You either pay it or you don’t.”
In a report constructed by The Birmingham Business Journal, the University of Alabama recorded the fastest growing enrollment among flagship universities.
Campus enrollment increased by 50 percent during the last 10 years, according to data released by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Enrollment was 21,930 in 2007. It is now 37,665.
As campus continues its growth in acres and students, Sherman speculated that the quality of education would travel in the opposite direction.
“It’s not a small classroom kind of thing,” Sherman said. “I think it will drop just because that comes with it.”
Along with Sherman, junior Hannah Johnson adjusted to the expanding campus in stride. Johnson said the intensity of a college lifestyle took her by surprise.
“I came from a small town in Louisiana,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t prepared for the education here.”
With the rise of students on campus, Johnson and Sherman struggled to generate solutions to the continued growth around campus.
Casey Wertz graduated high school a semester early to get a head start on her soccer career at the University of Alabama. However Wertz noticed a change in her academic routine once she made the transition to college.
“I didn’t like the lecture classes because it wasn’t as intimate,” Wertz said. “I like the English classes that I’m taking now because it’s way more intimate.”