Sunday, 5 April 2015

My College Experience & Why It Is Not For Everyone

*I refrain from mentioning the names of the institutions, students and tutors involved - just in case they read this and try to reply to it.  

This has been a topic that I have refrained from blogging about for quite some time. But I felt that today, it was and is so dear to my heart that it was something I had to share with people. It has been on my mind ever since, and it is only now in 2015 that I chose to express how much it meant to me - as well as how some of it did not mean so much to me. I am not a student any more; I am not under any college or university obligation not to speak out about my experiences. And with that, I can reflect on and talk candidly about the emotional upheaval and difficulties I had underwent. 

As I want and as I do, because I know I cannot be reprimanded for it. 

I don't hate college as an idea, and in some cases, it has taught me about the person that I want to be in life.... but the rudeness, the preferential treatment that I saw from one teacher to another student, the somewhat strange behaviour of that teacher, just irked me and threw me off. And so college has also taught me about the person that I don't want to be like in life; that I don't want to be like those rude and difficult people and teachers. 

And since then, I have personally tried to not to come across as those types of people. Because that is not me and I know that deep down, that it is not me. 

My education experience has been what one might call unconventional; I chose to study Media studies over say Art and design. 

But I also came across my fair share of difficult people as well; when I reminisce about it, it not only brought back bad and painful memories, it also reminded me that those times ought to and should have been the happiest that I have been, from a personal and student perspective. 

My college, as well as university years, were supposed to be the most important and happiest in my life in my 20s; like I said before, I prefer it over my high school days, but there were some things I wished that a) were a lot different, b) a lot better and c) made the personal student experience a lot more memorable and enjoyable. 

In contrast, my teen years were the worst I had gone through - the racial bullying and harassment, teasing. I had to watch my back, whilst dreading every single day walking down the corridors of high school and in my class, because some of them were so intimidating that I had to watch my back, whenever they said something about me, or chucked a rolled up ball made out of paper at the back of my head. And so therefore, I looked forward to being in my 20s with optimism and pursuing student life, trying to erase those distant memories of high school. I used this as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. 

I was an obedient pupil at high school, but I was also bullied as well. If you look different and feel out of place, you know what it is like as an outsider at high school and not being able to fit in, because to them, you weren't 'cool enough' or look or dress in a certain way. High school was hell for me; Hell with a capital 'H'. So when I was 16 and left school to go to college, I realized the experience was a lot more different than school and that students in my class were older, well-behaved and respectful. Until I moved to a different college a few years later - students in one school, were frankly obnoxious and were making mean spirited comments about me as I eavesdropped in one conversation. 

I tried reporting the incident to the head of the faculty, but they seem reluctant to do anything. The most worrying part of it, was that the students would find out I had been talking to the faculty of media studies and they would question me about it. It was like high school all over again. It was so bad that I was fearing for my safety. 

To escape this, I transferred to another course, just to get away from those people and the bullying. Because I knew I couldn't leave the college and get my money back from the course. No way would I be refunded for the course that I had left, in spite of these circumstances. Instead, it made problems even worse and plus, I met a very difficult (and spiteful) mature student on the course I was on, who was so bitter most of the time and would direct her anger at me. To this day forth, I could care less what she is doing and where is she is right now. The same applies to the tutors on the course. 

I practically loathed this college institution.  

I didn't go to college with the intention of making friends per se or go to parties and getting drunk (I don't drink or smoke for that matter), I focused so much on the studying part and getting through it. But I wanted to meet and talk to the students on my courses, to help share ideas, share our experiences and feelings about studying and life. I was a shy person at school and high school, and college did make me open up and not be afraid to converse and interact with the class. 

September 2002 to July 2003 was a good and bad period for me; I excelled in my studies, I was studying hard at my subject, completing assignments and handing them in on time. But my student-teacher relationship with my personal tutor was cumbersome and difficult; one minute I would be on good terms with them, the next minute we'd have a fall- out. But the studying part wasn't what one would call stressful. I was grateful for the help I got in writing essays and assignments, how to structure essays, as well as refreshing my study skills. 

I enjoyed being a student, I enjoyed the studying part, but everything else, the personal fall-outs with my personal tutor, hit me hard. And it took me me 2 years after I left college to make me understand that my overall happiness does not stem or revolve around students and tutors, who you only see in one year. Because after that one year, you go your separate ways and never meet up and speak to each other, ever again. 

If there is one thing I regret the most about being a student, it is that I became too trusting towards certain people, that they used it, in turn, to mistreat me and shout at me. I don't care if you don't like me - there are people that I don't like as people, but I respect them as teachers or in other professions because they do a good job of it. & nobody has the right to talk down at you in a way that is construed as being mean, just because to him/her it is warranted. It is not

I was young, 19 going on 22, but the negative experiences toughened me up. It was a harsh reality check and wake up call for me that I can not and must not, ever take things and life for granted. And people as well. 

College is not for every single person. College differs depending on where you live in the world; in Britain, it refers to further education, whereas in the U.S, it refers to higher education. Other than it leads to masses of debt you have to pay back the student loans company after your studies -,  it is unfair that because of how in places such as China, people harp on about education being a 'must have' compulsory thing and that every single person has to go to experience it. There are those who feel they are cut out for learning by studying text books and theory in the classroom, and there are those who learn better through practical, hands- on, personal experience.... but for those who want to make the most out of it, it's really important to understand this is exactly what you want, that you feel you will get a lot out of what you pay for, and that you take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes, you have to deal with and come across difficult individuals and the unnecessary crap that comes with it; yet your focus is to study, and see through the course to the end.  

It is also dependent on the type of course you are doing or thinking of doing. 

Not everyone is born to go to college and university, but that alone, doesn't imply that it makes you any less smarter or emotionally mature as those that do. 

There is life after college - and college and high school does not make or break you as a person

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