A Cautionary Tale from a College Disaster: Love/Hate Relationships!
Students spend so much time visiting colleges across the nation trying to find the place that best fits them. Even after the decision is made, the deposit is paid, and the room is festooned with posters after moving in at the beginning of freshman year, a mistake can still be made.
I made a mistake with where I chose to attend college. I take full accountability in admitting that I should not be where I am today, but here I am in my pink palace of a dorm room, hoping that some cosmic force stronger than my own folly has kept me here. Although my series usually focuses on the negative experiences at my university, in hopes to help others from making the same mistake as me (which actually doesn’t mean anyone should change their mind about coming to Hollins, it means anything that has happened to me here can happen at any college across the globe), I have decided in lieu of Valentine’s Day, I would share what I love about my college experience in the last two and a half years.
Academics: This is what college is all about, and in my opinion, it is learning what you want to learn (which is something I have experienced here more than not). When looking at other colleges across the nation to transfer to, I couldn’t find courses that enthralled me the way the course catalogue on my shelf does. Just like any college, I have taken a few dud classes (some have been general requirements, but that is expected), but for the most part, I have nothing to say besides exceptional reviews of all my classes. And what more can I ask for since I am here to get my degree? Anyone who is looking to transfer from their college seriously needs to consider the transition of academic life from school to school, because, at the end of the day, you are here (and you are paying mucho bucks!) to discover what is out there in the word of academia.
Friendship: During one of the first days of orientation I met my best friends. These girls are my family at a school that lacks the sisterhood it sells in glossy view books. Friendship is a huge aspect of college life, because I don’t think anyone could go through 4 years alone, especially at such a small college like Hollins. They are my partners in crime, my amusement on Friday nights, my choir when we are the only juniors singing in celebration to our senior class, but, most of all, they are my sisters. No one should ever stay strictly for the friends they have made, but in judging the friendships you have, it absolutely should be a factor. While I know I could make friends anywhere else, I could not call anyone else a sister (who I am not related to) the way I can with them.
Traditions: Hollins has outstanding traditions. What other college in the nation hikes up a mountain after the first frost of fall in October after eating Krispy Kreme donuts at 6am for Tinker Day? I don’t know of any other school, even those rich in tradition, that have the same spirit and zealous positivity behind them. I love to celebrate – anything and everything, whenever a celebration is called for – so being able to celebrate at Hollins really appealed to me. Although a lot of the traditions have been ruined for me (you will hear about that in a later article), I respect and honor all traditions through and through because of what they mean to the history of this school. Leaving, I would have had to learn new traditions and I wouldn’t have been there from the start to participate – and participation has helped me make them my own.
Opportunities: Every college has a lot to offer its students, some more than others. I think if you are willing to call yourself persistent and work hard to get what you want, anything you want can come your way. Through opportunities at Hollins, I was able to be the chair of the activity board’s General Speakers Bureau – an utterly life changing, invaluable experience. It allowed me to not only learn about event planning, but I was able to host some amazing modern day influences (especially transgendered author and playwright who moved the audience to tears, Kate Bornstein). While that is only one example of an opportunity I worked hard for and succeeded at, I have had many more. Despite all the hardships I have had on this campus, I have been able to make this campus my own.
And, of course, there are little things about this campus I love like the custodian, Vince, who knows my name, smiles, and always says hi – even though I have never personally met him. I love the History Department Party at the end of each semester that allows my friends and me to go crazy while dancing to old school rock. I love my peers who work so hard to do what means something to them, always changing and making a difference on campus and off. I love my professors that know me for who I am and have supported me through whatever I have needed. I love the way the trees bend, the loop winds along the rolling hills, and the grass grows so green. I love the way I imagine this place in the 60s, the 30s, and even the late 1800s. I really do love it, despite everything.
However, people ask me why I haven’t left, or why I am still here after two years of nonstop insanity and all I really have to say is that while I openly admit staying here is a mistake, being here – at this point in time – is the right thing for me. People have a love/hate relationship with everything from the red nail polish on their finger nails to their parents, and the relationship I have with Hollins is exactly that. The things that I love are something I will carry with me forever, while the things I hate are just obstacles in my everyday life, which have helped me become stronger as a student, a woman, and as an advocate for others and myself.
Now tell me, what makes you stay where you are. What makes you smile on your campus? Even if you hate your dorm room, your roommate, your classes, and the cold this winter – what on your campus makes you get out of bed every day? Is it your friends or the cafeteria food? Or is it the Professor who blesses you as class is letting out, or the spiral staircase in the main student building?
Tell me what you love about your college, no matter what your feelings about it are.