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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » The Randoms » HELP!!! Academic identity crisis!!!!

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Author Topic: HELP!!! Academic identity crisis!!!!
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 33

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All right, well, those of you who know me/have talked to me may know that I'm currently a freshman at a technology school in Chicago. I'm majoring in psychology.

I love Chicago, my darling is moving up to be with me in under a month, I love Chicago, and I love Chicago.

But I don't like my school.

See, I've always been involved in the media in one way or another. The school paper, a magazine-writing gig for a couple of years, editing, things like that. Creativity. And here I am, at a school where I'm not even taking an English class.

On top of that, the psychology department seems to be run by people focused on their own area of psychology - one that not only doesn't interest me but actively turns me off.

I feel like I'm denying myself by not doing something creative, or doing something that I have an obvious talent for (writing). I feel VERY out of place at this school, whose population mainly consists of international students and of people who look at me strangely 'cause I have a bar going through my ear (

I feel out of place, I feel depressed, and I'm miserable! But I don't know how I'm going to transfer out of this and deal with financial aid and credits and the fact that the fall semester's not even half over!

I know that it has to be bad that I'm feeling burned-out and not even slightly motivated after only three weeks of school.

Please, someone, give me some advice! I feel miserable...

~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

"This was a Pizza Hut, now it's all covered in daisies..." ~Talking Heads, in "Nothing But Flowers"

Posts: 3156 | From: Austin, Texas | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 1371

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Well, I've never changed schools, but I've now been in school for...uh... (quick count on fingers) almost 20 years now, and I've now spent almost two and a half years dealing with undergraduates, so.

It seems to me like there are two things that one can do in an academic situation that doesn't feel like it's working:

1) try and make the situation work
2) try and change into a different situation

These things are not independent of the other; it's perfectly possible to be trying to make your current situation better while plotting to extract yourself from it entirely.

So, in your situation I would suggest doing both.

For example, you said that you're really missing being creative and writing. Are there some outlets for that creativity at your school that you could take advantage of? For example, is there a literary magazine or paper you could work on? Could you perhaps audit an English or creative writing class? If there isn't any kind of creative outlet, could you start one? (Most schools require that you give them some kind of statement of purpose and a faculty adviser to be an an official club.)

As for your major, you might want to poke around and see if there are people in your department who are sympathetic to your perspective -- not because you necessarily have to stay, but becuase they could probably help you in figuring out what to do with your semester, and also maybe give you recommendations for schools in the area that might better suit your needs. They might also be able to give you a better sense of what you could expect from staying.

As for the second option, well, you got into school once; you can do it again. And now you even know what the process is like, so it'll be even easier this time. Okay, well, maybe not. Applications are a major pain in the butt.

You also have the advantage this time of knowing what you're not looking for in a school, so that'll make your selection process even easier. For example, you know now that you're looking for a psych department that reflects specific interests that you have, and you're looking for a school that offers you outlets for your creative abilities. That will help you in your search. I am willing to bet that you can find a school in the Chicago area that has those.

So you start searching again, and you email or call (or both) and talk to the nice admissions people about transferring. They can give you information about deadlines, aid, and credits. You also might want to locate the dean of students equivalent at your school (no, they're not just for busting students) and/or the records office and talk to them about transferring. They can let you know what you'll need to send off.

If you're lucky, you might be able to still apply for Spring 2000 admission. If you're not, you might want to consider either sticking out a whole year at your current school and taking stuff that you're reasonably sure will transfer (see above discussion) or taking a semester off and working and hanging out with your sweetie and enjoying Chicago.

I really think if you start working to make your immediate situation better, that that'll make you happy, and if you start searching for a way out of it, that'll help you make sure that you stay that way.

Good luck! Oh, and I'm at Purdue (about 2 hours from Chicago) but perhaps that's too much of a commute.


PHILOSOPHY: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding there
is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. -- Dave Barry

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Gumdrop Girl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 568

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Well, some schools just aren't right for some people. That's why there's lots of them for us to choose from.

Fortunately, I found a place that works for me (GO BEARS!); I couldn't fathom being this happy at UCLA or Stanford (grr!).

But not liking your environment will eventually affect your work. If worst comes to worst, you might want to consider transferring in your third year. otherwise, go to your undergrad advisor and have yourself a li'l chat.

if you get the molasses, i'll set up the trampoline.

Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 100

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Speaking as a writer who has degrees in everything *but* writing (degrees in opera, musicology, and coursework in psychology, linguistics, and women's studies), I have to say that while it can be annoying to be in classes where your interests in writing are not really a major part of the class, there is absolutely nothing about that that keeps you from writing. I can also say that from the professorial perspective, since I've done plenty of teaching as a professor, particularly with undergrads. The process of teaching and learning is really not one where one's independent creativity gets indulged an awful lot.

Writing happens because we want it to. Our involvement with communication -- writing or whatever other venue -- happens because we want it to.

Our liberal educations often require that we do almost nothing but ingest information for long periods of time, and that can be frustrating for people who feel most themselves when they're not just ingesting information but expressing and sharing it. All of those things, on the other hand, are necessary to build us as intellectual people and, to be honest, as good writers as well.

On the other hand, if you can't bear your school or your program, by all means transfer. Sometimes you find that it isn't the dynamics of education but the school that makes you crazy.

Hang in there and good luck. Keep talking it through -- that helps.

Hanne Blank
Co-Editor, Scarleteen

Start a Revolution -- Stop Hating Your Body!

Posts: 1538 | From: boston, ma, USA | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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