college and its myth of sparkling intellectualism: my miserable disillusionment

the mouse that roared's picture

I thought college would be a bastion of spirited intellectualism, that there would be so many more people like me, that I would love my classes. There would be vibrant lectures and debates, I would think deeply about hard issues every day, I would go to art shows and concerts and plays, I would play music, write music, sing music, become a poet. Would fall in love with so many girls, would have a close circle of deep, civically-minded, good-natured friends. Would have a beautiful girlfriend and discuss queer theory with whomever came along. Maybe it would be hard to find my major, but it would be because there were so many staggeringly fabulous options. My roommate and I would be close, my a capella group would be energetically-performing and musically literate, my house would be another family.

It didn't quite work out like that.

My circle of friends (half of which I'm close to, the other half of whom I hang with because my friends do), is shattering do to ridiculous drama over who called who a ho or a liar or a bitch. I haven't experienced this much ridiculosity ever, maybe a bit in high school. My friends from home say that's what I get for going to a women's school, but I feel a bit foolish now. I just think these girls are mean and stupid. I know there must be some cool girls on campus, but the general student body here is either preppy or academically driven or jaded--no passionate intellectuals or world-savers here, no one who wants to change the world or think about things. My actual friends are sweet, but I don't philosophize with them at all. I feel comfortable with them, and they're great for laid-back joking around, but I need something deeper! My ex and I had that somewhat, but I can't really be friends with her--she's too unstable.

My house is also petty and dramatic! When we had house elections, and I was running, some girls totally bitched me out for interrupting their perfect schemes of which of their friends would get what positions. I decided to stay at my house next year before all this ridiculosity erupted, and now I want to leave.

Classes are not stimulating. I don't want to major in anything I took this year. I'm very busy, but I don't like my schoolwork much. My mind is not being stretched. I thought the humanities and social sciences would make me confront deep issues, but the truth is they are very easy to bullshit. I'm not interested enough to think about the issues I'm presented with, but the thought that these are just BS classes makes me so sad.

I'm directionless, on the road to pennilessness, and have met noone like minded. I have two crushes, one of whom is straight and the other of whom is taken, both of whom I avoid. There is no one else I've met that I'd consider dating really. The first year queers are very unstable. I am picky. I thought I'd have lost my virginity by now, and I probably could have, but to me sexual stuff has greater significance, especially if it's a first time. I don't want my first time to be meaningless, and I don't really know how to pull strings to get a fuck buddy or to sleep around, if I wanted that. I don't want to get mired in that, but I'm tired of being inexperienced. My friends say I'm a sloppy kisser, but I don't know how to change it! Probably the main way would be to get experience, but... oy.

I thought college would solve all my problems. I have become more outgoing and more comfortable socially and with my sexual orientation (though everyone here is very homosexist and would never discuss queer theory as more than a tangent). Other than that, it's been a bust. I don't know what to do--there's only five weeks left in my first year, and I feel like friendships and situations are already cemented. I'm miserable, though--been crying all week since I got back from break. This has been the longest week of my life.


Lol-taire's picture

I'm sorry to hear that your

I'm sorry to hear that your experience has fallen short of your expectations- although they were very high.
All isn't lost though, is it?
Next year you'll be taking new classes and presumably higher level subjects and you now have an idea of what you don't like, which can help you focus on finding something that does inspire you.

I'm not totally sure how it works in the US (in the UK universities don't follow the liberal arts based curriculum) but everyone always says it gets harder accademically in the second year than the first where everyone is mostly focussed on settling in (or equally on going out drinking until they die).

Also, your friendships at this stage aren't set in stone. There are people you haven't met and you still have lots of time to get to know new people. There must be clubs and societies you can go along to, and if there isn't anything you find interesting then couldn't you apply to start your own, like a discussion forum sort of thing?

My friend CA has found university underwhelming, so have lots of my friends (almost all of them). We've all been told to focus on it for so long that the reality can never fulfill all the things it was meant to.

But even if university is never as great as you wish it would be, then you'll just have to work hard at finding your niche once you leave.
If I'm learning anything on this thoroughly depressing year, it's that this wonderland we're going to find one day, where everything we've been looking forward to is happening, just doesn't exist. Our best hope is to try to make some sort of facimile of it- if we can and try, if not to appreciate, then at least to notice, the elements of the fantasy we do have.

jeff's picture


A lot of the things on your list of expectations only have you as the reason they aren't done, no?

The perfect life is never found, it's made.


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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