New College, Who Dis?
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Health and Wellness

New College, Who Dis?

Sometimes transferring is the right thing to do.

New College, Who Dis?

I realized at exactly one in the morning, one week before my first semester of college came to an end, that I was not where I belonged.

I began my journey searching for colleges as a junior in high school. Brochures and hour long tours featuring the best parts of campus made the promise to provide a college experience beyond anyone's imagination. After months of researching degrees, tuition costs, and scholarships, I decided that I would be attending one of the largest universities in my state.

For months on end, I dreamed about attending the beautiful, expansive post-secondary institution. It was exciting to imagine attending a university with more students than the entire population of your town. I pictured myself surrounded by friends, joining tons of organizations and clubs, and even getting involved in Greek life.

Sadly, my experience was almost the exact opposite.

From the second I stepped foot onto the beautiful campus, I felt alone. I was surrounded by thousands of people - none of which I knew. Most of my friends from high school had chosen to attend other four year universities or decided to enroll at a local community college in my hometown. I had always been outgoing and involved in high school, so I assumed that getting involved at a school with so many people would be an easy task.

I was sadly mistaken. I failed to realize that although there were what seemed like a million organizations, there were basically a thousand students who were all trying to get involved in the same clubs. Everyone wanted to have the perfect post-college resume – one filled with community service, volunteer activities, academia clubs, and numerous extracurricular activities. I applied for what seemed like dozens of chances to get involved on campus. For every organization that accepted my application, I would receive at least three denials.

In my eyes, everyone else was succeeding and I was drowning in a sea of their accomplishments. Social media portrayed the perfect life for every student I followed. A few classmates from high school were also in my freshman class – and I made the mistake of adding their life to my “scroll list”. It seemed like they had it together like everyone else. They were involved in Greek life, popular organizations, numerous clubs, and managed to attend every single class on time.

In these times of hurt and confusion, I turned my fiancé, now husband, Jeremy.

At the time Jeremy was a junior at UA majoring in computer engineering. His experience at UA was much like mine. He did not participate in Greek life and was not involved in any organizations or clubs on campus with the exception of disc golf.

I didn’t understand why my college experience was already so miserable. My classes were not hard – in fact they were almost boring. I was just expected to show up to a lecture that featured my professor reading from a PowerPoint presentation and sign an attendance sheet. As my anxiety surrounding college grew, I stopped attending my classes.

At first, I stopped going to one class a week. I allowed myself a “break” because one of my classes (that I would later drop) became too challenging for me to handle with the “busy work” provided by my easier courses. This later escalated to not attending any classes whatsoever unless I had a test or quiz.

Two months into the semester, I requested that my anti-depressant dosage be bumped to a higher strength. I could not deal with the extreme stress and anxiety related to feeling alone, to feeling empty, and to feeling out of place in an environment where everyone seemed at ease. My doctor granted my wish and I seemed to get a grip on reality at the tail end of my first semester of college – but it was too little too late to fix any real damage that had already been done to my transcript.

After what felt like the worst year of my life, I knew that something had to change.

I allowed myself to admit that my university had a beautiful campus and was home some most talented and intelligent students in our country. For these people, this place was their home. They thrived among the sea of people that flow around them. I did not thrive. I floated. I sank. I drowned.

My decision to transfer was surprisingly easy.

I mentioned it to my fiancé at the beginning of November and he admitted that he had never really enjoyed attending the university. He was caught up in a name, a brand, an image that had been instilled in his heart and head at a young age. I realized he had a very valid point.

Together we began researching other colleges in our state. After many nights of talking, crying, and realizing how thankful we were for each other – we decided to transfer to UAH.

Once I made the decision to transfer to UAH, I felt a rush of relief flood through my body. I hadn’t realized how much anxiety I was holding onto because of my college environment. I was angry for all of the wrong reasons. My emotions were misplaced and misshapen because I felt like it was taboo to talk about how much I disliked a place that others valued so highly.

I realized that it was okay to feel like I didn’t belong. I’m not alone because I didn’t enjoy the college that I thought was right for me. I shouldn’t be scared to make decisions that I feel are right for me – and neither should you.

I will not miss feeling unhappy. I will not miss feeling alone, feeling scared, and feeling like a failure because I don’t know what I’m doing. I will not miss the lack of sleep, the excess of stress, and the constant presence of tears.

Almost a month later, I can proudly say that UAH is now my home. I’ve found numerous clubs and organizations that are eager to have new members and that accepted me with open arms. My professors are genuinely concerned about the welfare and education of the students and engage with all of their pupils as much as possible. The atmosphere at UAH is friendly, relaxed, and inviting – something I was truly missing in my search to find my college experience.

Transferring schools taught me a valuable lesson about being true to myself and about placing my happiness above what others want for me. No one has the right to take that away from me. Not even myself.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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