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Supposedly, college is the best four years of your life. I sure hope not.
I am a senior at a small Christian university, and I am graduating a year early. Many people compliment me on how impressive a feat this is, but my main motivation has been how much I dislike being here. Before coming to university, I had a group of Christian friends from church, and was encouraged by everyone to go to a Christian university—mainly to keep me out of trouble. Wanting to be a good Christian girl, I gladly went, against my parents wishes I might add. Here I am three years later, disappointed and disenchanted.
At my school, you must live on campus for your first two years. Each dorm has six students. Admittedly, the dorms are much nicer than any other dorms I have seen. Having five roommates, however, made me wish for a tiny standard dorm room. In my two years in the dorms, I had five roommates that were kicked out for behavioral issues so I constantly had new people shifting in and out of my room. Two of my Resident Advisors were fired and replaced for behavioral issues as well. My requests to live with friends were ignored. My request to live off-campus with my 30-year-old sister was denied. Unfortunately, terrible roommates are common at every university, but my problems only began there.
Now, I’ll admit that I may have broken some rules and gotten into some trouble, but aren’t Christians supposed to be loving and forgiving?
*I was sent to mandatory counseling when the first party I went to was reported, and my name was leaked. I accepted my odd punishment and convinced the counselor after one session that I did not go to the party because I was “mad at Jesus” or “depressed.” She let me off the hook, and told me she would tell the administration that I finished all the sessions.*
Looking for refuge from the administration, and my roommates, I turned to my professors, all of which claimed to want a personal relationship with students. I would email professors about how I could improve in class and on assignments, even though I had straight A's. My first response was that I looked too tired, so maybe I should drop out. I was working full-time as well as going to school full-time, and none of my professors supported this decision. Thankfully, I didn’t listen.
My second semester, I missed a midterm exam because my sister was in labor and she asked if I would drive her to the hospital. I failed the class because this wasn’t a “university-approved excused absence,” even with a doctor's note.
My first summer, I requested to live on campus. My parents had moved to different states, and I had a full-time job that I couldn’t leave. My request was denied because I didn’t get the job through the university. That would have been OK with me, but a friend of mine was allowed to stay on campus by lying about having a job through the university when they did not have a job at all. I stayed on a friend's couches all summer. The next year, I requested to live off campus. The friends I was going to live with all lied and said they were living with family, and their requests were approved. Mine too was denied.
My sophomore year I spent as much time as possible off campus. I slept on my best friend's floor, at my sister's house, anywhere but my dorm room—where my roommate would stand over my bed and watch me sleep. The administration wanted me to have proof. Thankfully she got high on prescription pills at a retreat and told our entire stairwell about her feelings for me. I was not there, and I was fined for not going, because I couldn’t get off work. That roommate stayed in my dorm, but in the bedroom next to mine. Interacting with her everyday after that was not fun.
My second semester of that year, I missed an exam because I was hit by a car. I was walking to class, and someone ran a stop sign on campus. They did not stop. I was dirty and bleeding, but I went to class to let my professor know that I wouldn’t be able to sit for the test due to being hit by a car. He said he understood and to feel better, and then failed me and refused to allow me to take the exam. I failed the class. The administration supported them because I did not have proof, even though I had a concussion and doctors note.
That summer, I was allowed to stay on campus. I was supposed to get a “lower room,” which is like a basement with its own entrance, but when I got there, someone had moved some stuff in already, and I got the smallest room. Regardless, I finally got to room with a friend, and it was the happiest I have been since coming to this school. I had a new job that I got through my favorite professor, and I was optimistic about senior year.
Unfortunately, the company ended up sending me into some dangerous situations, and I was assaulted. When I refused to go back to the location where I was attacked, I was fired. When I tried to talk to my professor about what happened, I was ignored. I emailed, called, left voicemails, sent text messages, and none of my communications were responded to. I later found out that the same thing had happened to at least three others girls in the past year. The three of us alerted the administration, and were told that they would look into it. The administration continues to support the company and the professor, and a freshman girl took my place there.
There are so many minor incidents that I am skipping over for the sake of time, like the many times all women on campus have been told our sole purpose is serving our husbands and having children, or that time I was kicked out of class for saying I’m pro-choice, or when I asked the campus pastor a genuine question about Christianity, and he told me to pray about it and God would guide me.
Along with my general displeasure regarding my roommate situations, the professors, and the administration, I do not like the so-called “community” aspect of my school. They love to advertise their perfect Christian community, but to ensure they have that sense of community, they only accept one very specific type of person and one set of ideals. Their ideal Christian is loud, ultra-conservative, evangelistic, and not my style at all. It is shoved down your throat from the first second you arrive on campus. I was sent to counseling for not fitting the mold. I was told by peers that I need to be a better Christian woman, which basically meant that I need to be a better servant to men. I was told to be more submissive to my male peers. I was told by an odd amount of men that God told them we were going to get married... not a good pickup line. The general vibe on campus is tension and fakeness and people hiding who they really are.
All of this is not to say that I haven’t met some beautiful, wonderful people. I met my best friend and now roommate, and I do have a solid group of friends that don’t report me when I say something that doesn’t correlate with the schools views.
At this point, I have stopped going to church because I was getting too angry every time I went. I was frustrated by the fakeness and competitiveness. I would walk out of chapel almost every day. I couldn’t take the constant pressure to be a perfect Christian, and I think that’s okay. I still love me some Jesus, but I haven’t found a place that I am not under constant critique by other Christians for living my life, and maybe breaking some rules, and generally not being perfect.