In the End, I Don’t Belong Here

In the End, I Don’t Belong Here

University -- or at least this one -- isn’t for me
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I have been struggling with college since I got here (here being the University of Washington). After 3 quarters with the same thoughts still stuck in my head, I’m pretty sure that UW is not for me. Instead of writing a sob novel of all the details, I’m going to attempt to organize my thoughts into a list of why I do not feel like I belong here at the University of Washington.

1. I don’t do well with rigorous academics

My high school had really rigorous academics. That, plus a lot of other factors made me flounder. Fortunately, I was able to finish the last two years of high school through Running Start, and I took classes at a ‘community’ college. I experienced some of the best academic years of my life. It was there that I fell in love with learning. The materials challenged me, but I never struggled with getting good grades. That’s the thing that I loved about Bellevue College: because I never had to worry about grades, I was put in a situation where I felt at ease about school work and it allowed me to actually enjoy and feel accomplished with my academics. At UW, it’s all about the grades again. Everyone is constantly competing with each other. Classes are rigorous and unforgiving. If you don’t pass a class (or even getting a shitty grade), you basically wasted a couple thousand dollars and a good part of your mental stability. Also for me, getting good grades is crucial, because without good grades, I could lose the grant money that has been allowing me to study here.

2. Due to number one, I can’t really do any extracurriculars

I would love to have a job. I love working and making my own money. When I don’t have a job, especially during the school year, I am constantly worrying about how much I have and when it’s okay to spend, and where I cannot spend anything, period. Also I hate desk jobs, so most internships just seem discouraging to me. My desk job is already my school work; I’m always on the goddamn computer. I’m afraid to pick anything up because if I do, and my work load changes drastically, I won’t have time for both. I will worry about my grades dropping and my mental health going down the drain (my well-being is incredibly important to me because without it, I wouldn’t be able to do anything productive with my life)

3. I’m never happy; never really satisfied, and everything I do here feels like a chore and/or a drag

I feel restless but also exhausted at the same time. There are brief joyful moments, but not enough where I can say I am genuinely happy. My work feels meaningless, I feel like what I am studying sometimes is worthless (even though I know it’s really interesting. It’s that worry about grades that just degrades everything, I swear).

4. I love Seattle, but I need a change

What I like about UW is that it’s a 30min drive from my hometown, it’s close(ish) to nature, it’s super liberal, and it’s familiar. I think that’s why I chose it without too much thought (also because both of my parents agreed (very rare!) that a degree from UW would be more valuable than a degree from the other Washington state colleges). However, the more I stay here, the more I am learning that I need something different. I need a new city. I need something new.

5. Diversity stays divided

Groups here are unspokenly exclusive or they just aren’t the right fit for me. The international students stay in their own international groups; no white person would dare try to join POC groups. Most clubs stay within their own. I just don’t like that feeling of everyone staying within their boxes. For me, the boxing club over all is not worth it and there is not another material arts club that fits my style. The queer student groups are the extreme social justice warrior type people and there seems to be a required amount of “queerness” you have to be to be looked on as equal. It’s feels like the opposite of Bellevue College and I’m not fond of it.

Those are the major points. Because I graduate in 3 quarters, it would be a waste to transfer again. I know that the next year is going to be really tough on my well-being and my self-confidence, but I am lucky enough to have good friends here that truly help me keep to pushing through.

TL;DR, here is your summary: I should be somewhere else and I feel like I am wasting my time here even though I am so close to finishing.

Cover Image Credit: Janina Loos

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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I'm Not Feelin' 22, But I'll Make The Most Of It

The reality of becoming another year older and the stress that it may bring.

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Birthdays are all about being the center of attention, - birthday wishes from friends and family, and celebrating another milestone in your life. People go out of their way to buy party favors, set up parties, and buy gifts just to make someone feel special on their birthday. However, some people dread their special day because of anxiety and depression. This past weekend was my 22ndbirthday, and although I'm usually excited for my birthday, this was the birthday I had been dreading.

Birthdays are inevitable. Once you reach past the age of 21, everything seems to go downhill, or at least I think so. Once I realized I was going to be 22 last Sunday, I realized the new responsibilities and norms that come with turning this age. I am a Junior at the University of Arizona, should be a senior, and most of my friends are younger than me. With most of my friends graduating this year at the age of 22, I can't help but feel bad that I will be graduating at the age of 23. After being at a large university for three years, I have felt "behind" because of my age and academic standing. Being the oldest of my friends brings a sense of anxiety out in me and pressure that I should be graduated by now.

Another issue I have with birthdays at this age is the expectation of certain milestones that I have not accomplished yet. With social media being such a large part of our society today, seeing so many different people on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posting pictures of what they are doing every second of the day, it's hard not to feel bad if you are not up to par with others lives. Some people are having babies, while others are going to medical school, where do I fit in?

Although birthdays bring some sense of negativity to me, I think that they should be celebrated in a positive light. My best friend, Colleen, knew I was feeling down about my birthday and wanted to help me feel better about turning the big 2-2. She bought balloons, silly string, and letter banners just to decorate our apartment to make me feel excited about the day. She bought me the most unique presents that only a best friend would know I would have wanted. At the end of the day, we went to my favorite restaurant and with the help of Colleen, my day had turned around.

While you may catch the birthday blues at some point in your lifetime, there are ways to change your attitude on the day. You may hear from someone from the past wishing you a happy birthday that can make you smile, or receive a gift from a family or friend that you had your eye on in the store and they knew you had to have it. Don't compare yourself to others when it comes to birthday plans, live the day how you would like and spend it with the people that matter most to you.

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