One of the reasons I came to Olin was because the classes were small and not lecture-based. To be honest, I'd always considered myself (and Olin) to be better than big lecture halls.
So it's interesting that my favorite class this semester is a 110 person lecture at Brandeis.
It might just be the topic, since I'm fascinated by Behavioral Neuroscience and am prone to walking up to people and telling them "Your primary visual cortex is soooo cool!" It also might be the professor; Don Katz is amazing and I don't think he's given a lecture that hasn't given me chills. But I also really like the format.
In a lot of ways, a big lecture class forces me to be more independent. No one checks if I've done the reading. No one cares (or even notices!) if I don't go to lecture. And while it all ultimately ends up as a grade, for now it feels a teeny bit empowering. I'm reading to learn and understand, not because of a homework score or the approval of my professor. It's something I do for me, and I own the responsibility for whether I succeed or fail.
Reading this over, it sounds like what every freshman at every state university learns. I think the difference (if there is one) is that I don't usually feel this same amount of self-motivation at Olin because I care so much about what people think of me. So many of the things I do are for other people. My fault, sure, but for 3 hours a week, it's nice to have no one care about me.