A few other things struck me about Pepperdine as being not typical.
The overall mood or spirit of the place was one of ease and calm. It's been 24 years since I went away to college. The mood in the dorms was as if someone had just let go of an enormous balloon they'd been blowing up for 18 years. It was a feeling of release and freedom as in "woo hoo, we're away from home, let's party hardy". The dorms were practically vibrating with the energy of it.
Pepperdine didn't feel like that. The kids were excited but not so much that you suspected they'd lose all good sense and reason as soon as we got in our cars, wound down the mountain, and made the first turn toward home. I sensed the students were ready for us to leave not so they could cut loose, but so they could get on with the business of being students at Pepperdine.
I imagine it has something to do with the fact that students who choose a place like Pepperdine are for the most part goal-oriented and focused. I'm not naive' enough to think there's not a significant amount of partying that goes on there, but it certainly doesn't set a mood of the campus.
It was also very refreshing to consistently meet 18, 19, and 20-year-olds who had no problem looking you in the eye, introducing themselves, shaking hands, and engaging in conversation. The new student orientation leaders were amazing in their willingness and aptitude for helping, serving, and doing whatever might be asked of them at any given moment. They had no problem approaching us if we paused to check our shedules, making sure we weren't confused, lost, or even at one point, thirsty. There are ALOT of stairs to climb at Pepperdine.
I talked to my son online today. He sounded good and said they were all going to do something tonight since it's their last night. That's reassuring to me for two reasons. 1) There's an "all" which means he's got a group to hang with 2) Whoever they are, they all realize that what they are doing now is something that ends at the point that school begins.