Opinion: Am I going to the right school?

By Hannah Sievert | January 16, 2017 5:19pm

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If you’re lucky, you have never questioned that you chose the right place to go to college. Maybe you came to the University of Portland freshman year, got a great roommate and dorm, loved your major and never considered that you made the wrong decision in choosing where to spend four years of your life. When your aunts and uncles ask you how college is going, you reply “Oh my gosh, I love it” with no hesitation.

If that’s you, I envy you. I have always envied people like you.

I came into college thinking it would be great and easy and “the best four years of my life.” But it’s been anything but great and easy. I transferred from the University of Washington last year to UP hoping that it would be a better college fit for me. I remember thinking as I drove here for the first time that UP would be everything I couldn’t find at UW. UP would be easy and great in a way that UW wasn’t.

But UP hasn’t been an easy answer for me either. Just like at UW, I’ve questioned if this is the right place for me to go to college. I’ve struggled with professors, with roommates, with dorms, administrators and friends. I’m a sophomore now, but I still think, maybe I should go somewhere else. Maybe I would be happier somewhere else.

And maybe you’re like me. I’ve talked to a lot of friends and classmates that have considered transferring and have wondered if they’re meant to go to college somewhere else and if another school would suit them better.

Which leads me to often wonder, how do we know that we’re at the right college when we’re just not sure? If we’re struggling? How can I ever be fully content at the place that I am at rather than constantly googling other programs and looking over the fence thinking, “the grass looks so green over there”?

But I’ve recently come to a decision that has helped me out and might help others who have been facing the same dilemma. If you’re not facing this constant question, then you’re welcome to stop reading and return to your perfect life (eye roll).

First of all, there is a beauty to new beginnings. There is a beauty to realizing that you’re meant for something else and maybe transferring into a better situation would be good for you.

But may I suggest that there is a beauty and strength to sticking things out. Good friends and good experiences can come from staying in a situation and building it up. Invest in your community, invest in your current situation and stop looking over the fence. Try fertilizing your own grass. Maybe in four years you’ll look back and say, “I’m so glad I didn’t bail.” And I’m so proud I stayed in this situation, fought it out and made it good. That’s something to be truly proud of.

So even though I’ve had some struggles here, I say to myself, no. I’m not going to bail. I’m not going to run to another situation because that looks easier. I’m going to stick this one out and stop comparing my college experience to others. I’m going to invest in this situation that I have in front of me, and I’m going to be thankful that I get to go to college at all.

Because there are a lot of good things here at UP. There’s a lot of people, clubs and majors to try out and invest in. Portland is cool and the people (albeit weird) are generally nice. I would suggest to myself and people like me who have always questioned their school choice to invest in what is here and not choose the seemingly easier “flight” method. Hopefully in four years, we’ll look back and be glad we did.

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