Case Western Reserve University has a more nerdy and academically focused college environment compared to other colleges in the area. This is often praised, as the workload is an accepted part of the culture of CWRU. While commendable, this workaholic culture proves to be incredibly stressful and has the latent effect of inflicting feelings of inadequacy if you are not doing the same amount of work as others.
Over my six years here, I have been in a love-hate relationship with the university. I was excited to come to college and start a new chapter in my life, but I soon learned that I did not fit in here. I did not live near campus nor on it, and I lived a very different life than many of the students here.
While working nearly full-time hours during my entire four years of undergrad, I took the Redline to class from the west side. I never had time to participate in extracurricular activities, and honestly never felt welcome at them because of my distance from campus. My peers seemed to alienate me because I was not around twenty-four seven. It also didn’t help that I studied humanities on a campus that heavily emphasizes STEM majors.
My time as an undergradate at CWRU probably should have led me to consider transferring, but I stayed because of the school’s prestige. Eventually, it did start to grown on me. About to graduate from Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, I’ll miss CWRU for some of the good time despite all of the bad.
I had many great, inspiring professors. I began to love the University Circle area and learned to explore and appreciate more of what is around here, such as all of the museums and food places. Most importantly, I was able to find a few people that I connected with. This took some time though, and most of these feelings of fondness come in retrospect.
We can find good and bad things in everything, especially here at CWRU. There are plenty of reasons to like the university, whether that is the people you live or have classes with, organizations you are a part of, or the physical areas in and around campus. However, this does not reflect everyone’s experience, and I hope that more people can recognize this. I also hope to see more effort to make students feel more included as a part of campus, such as commuter students and students who fall outside the STEM fields.
I will always have mixed feelings about my years here. Although I will miss it, I will not miss the extreme stress that comes along with being a student here and the exclusionary feelings I felt the majority of the time as a student. College should be some of the best years of life, and they shouldn’t be compromised just to get a degree at a well-known university. There needs to be continuous effort to include everyone as a part of the CWRU community and the only way to do this is to keep reminding the administration that not everyone is happy or feels equal to their peers.