Thursday, December 17, 2009

College Woes

College...well more specifically my choice of college, has been weighing on my heart lately. I go to a state school so you can already guess my situation. The price is so great, more than half of what my friends are paying in tuition. I also ADORE my school education-wise. My teachers are all very accessible, the classes are small, the town is cute, and the campus is pretty. But I am immensely unhappy and I think I may be developing some sort of depression or anxiety problem. (I'm so ashamed to admit that) My semester started off great as people were friendly, there was no cattiness, no hurtful words, or sinful pressures. Then about a month in, about the time everyone became comfortable being their true selves and saying what was on their minds, everything fell apart. I remember the night it happened vividly because my "best friend" at school flipped out of no where and melted down in a fit of rage screaming/slamming doors. I crouched on the floor late that night and called my mom for advice. I had never seen anyone act like that, especially around people you have only known for a month or so. (I'm not saying people don't breakdown...I have had more than one bad fight with my mom...but anyway) After a mere 5-10 minutes I was crying and just begging to come home.

I felt I couldn't trust anyone and I noticed I hadn't been able to be my true self either. Coming into school I planned to take my faith to the next level where I figured people wouldn't judge me or feel uncomfortable with my headcoverings and daily spiritual expression. I thought I would meet tons of new people: both Christian and non and the world was going to be full of great opportunities. But this dream was soon to be shattered. Not only were the non-Christian people hard to tolerate, but the Catholic kids were just as bad. When I covered my hair, my room mates told me I looked like quote "a black girl covering her weave." When I went to church, people refused to shake my hand, children threw the hymnals and one even jumped on it in the middle of the aisle. When I prayed my rosary, people would laugh and tell me I was way over the top and one reminisced saying "wow back when I was crazy I prayed the rosary everyday, sometimes up to 3 times!" When I went to the Catholic Ministry party my drink was spiked and everyone was focused on dancing, getting drunk, and singing trashy music.

You may think I'm over exaggerating, but I have joined religious and nonreligious clubs, reached out to many many people, tried changing my already changed version of myself to fit in better...and nothing is working. A few weeks ago over Thanksgiving break, I reunited with my high school friends and I couldn't wait to see if any of them had the same problems as I did, but none of them did, they were all having a great time. What hurt the most was hearing how much fun my friend Ben* was having. He is going to the Jesuit school I almost decided to attend. My decision was down to my school and his school. I had received a very generous scholarship from the jesuit college, but the price was still quite a bit higher than the state school tuition and since my parents are paying for my education I thought the state school was a better choice. My reasoning was that I can find good Christian friends anywhere, I can avoid the partying and the sinful natures, and that saving the money is much more practical since I want to be a teacher. Why waste 10k more a semester for the same career options?

I go online and I see Ben's* pictures at school and how he and his friends are having good CLEAN fun. Apparently the students all have mass and they party sans alcohol and drugs. I hate to say how envious I really am. That is the experience I am craving, what I thought I could find at my own school if I looked hard enough. If I decided to transfer schools, I would only recieve a fraction of my previous scholarship. Not to mention it's a farther drive. I feel like I am stuck...stuck in a situation I had prayed over night after night. I thought God was guiding me to this school as opposed to the jesuit school, but now I feel like I was so far off base. How could God have ever wanted me here? Not only am I miserable, but I can feel my faith dying everyday. I don't know if it's the stress or all the opposition...but I went from being so on fire for God and my faith to the complete opposite. Now that I am home, I'm trying to pick up my old habits like the rosary and bible reading, but now I have the anxieties here that I had at school. I'm deathly afraid of people walking in on my when I pray or when I watch/listen to religious media. I fear having to go back next month.

I thought I was so much stronger than this and that's why I am so angry with myself. I'm upset I let myself cave under the pressures and I'm confused as to why I can't find one religious friend here who DOESN'T go out every night partying. I want to meet someone who's faith is more than a label. I only need one! So why do I feel like God is holding back from me? What is my purpose here? Do I even have one or was is a huge mistake? One that really can't be fixed now due to finances...I know my mom would make the sacrifice for me, but that's not fair to her. Plus I love the school...I just cannot stand the people and the social aspect. I was watching the videos on the Duggar's TLC page and there was one on Erin Bates who is attending college now...and she picked a school based on Christian principals. I can't help but think I went about this all wrong. Maybe my choice wasn't God focused and now I'm seeing the effects of that.

I'm going to go hit the Word hard now, so I'll try to post something more faith centered next time. I'm so sorry for unloading this here, but I have no where else to really document and vent my unhappiness without affecting my family & friends. I'm so grateful I am getting an amazing education...I just wish I could avoid the people who bring me down more easily and find some uplifting ones. :(
Please keep my in your prayer that I may find guidance.
~R.A

3 comments:

Ahavah-Shim'on said...

There are many times in our lives when things get 'tough' .. think of it as a big storm... now you are faced with a choice...

hold the hand of a Saviour who walked on the water in the midst of the storm

or

be like the disciples in the boat and shriek for all they are worth...

Faith does not come about in our lives because we have a life of sun and roses it comes through these times of testing... it is here in this place where you will discover how to be true not only to your G-d, but too yourself.

I admire you for choosing NOT to place a huge (er) financial burden on your parents. Now that was a choose made by a loving, caring daughter... now sweetie, wipe those eyes, get your nose out of the Scriptures and start singing your head off....

trust me on this one.. praise drives all fears back to where they belong, under our Saviours feet! with love Me xx

deltaflute said...

The same sort of thing happened to me. I felt like I was in the wrong school and that I wasn't serving any kind of purpose or leading a purpose filled life (btw I'm not into that book at all). Oddly enough I was going back to school from a conferance that I had attended. The guy driving the van and I fell into a converstaion and I told him my confusion. He said God always has a plan even if we don't see it at the time. It may be something very simple. He told me to stick it out. So I did. Needless to say I met my husband. And I don't think I would have if I hadn't kept going.

Perhaps you're at a stagnant moment in life. Instead of asking God yes or no, you are getting the "maybes" that He likes to throw at us from time to time. Stick it out and see what God's plan is for you. If it's totally the wrong choice, he won't let you keep going to school.

Lucy said...

I have been verbally abused, I haev had objects thrown at me, I have been laughed at and I have been stared at.

You see, I live in a city that was quite divided with the Protestants and Catholics and it still holds some of it's prejudices. I can't wear my veil in public because it looks Catholic (which I am not), as twice a day I pass a rough Protestant area that even normal Protestants avoid.If I did wear my veil in public, it could be dangerous.

But here's the thing; you may have been placed in the uni you are at to encourage someone.

A tip- when I was a 1st yr student, I was stop living with a very strange person who one day had a meltdown too.It happens when living in small quarters, nobody is perfect.Be a bigger person by forgiving and moving on.Be nice to that person so that they cannot fault you.

I don't drink, smoke or go to niteclubs, but I do socialize other ways and I make sure to be open with others.I have friends who smoke, drink and niteclub, but I also have friends who do none of these things. The key is making sure that I never appear to be judging people.

This also helped in boarding school, I became known as quietly religious and as approachable by the younger pupils.