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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