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The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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Keeping your commitment to CWRU

In a society where few things are made to last, long-term commitments are few and far between. This week, my best friend got engaged to a man she has been dating for a year and a half. To them, that was a sufficient amount of time to decide they want to spend the rest of their lives together, and enforce that dedication by entering a legal contract.

Upon accepting the offer of admission to Case Western Reserve University this past spring, over 1100 high school graduates entered into a similar contract, although one with a more rigidly defined time scale. When you agree to attend CWRU, you are making the commitment to stay for the four years it takes most people to earn bachelor’s degrees, or maybe a semester longer if you go out on Co-Op.

For most first-year students, the first few weeks of classes are a whirlwind of excitement. You’re meeting new people, getting invited to fun activities, and trying to get into the groove of your classes all while adjusting to living on our urban campus.

By the time fall semester finals roll around, a sentiment that tends to fly around freshmen dorms is that of “I want to transfer, CWRU is too (difficult / time-consuming / far away from home / etc.).” Perhaps this doesn’t surprise you. After all, as a nationally-acclaimed university the workload isn’t meant to be easy, and adjusting to studying at a collegiate level can be a drastic change for students who succeeded in high school with minimal effort.

My freshman roommate hung up her Spartan helmet for good in favor of going back to her home city of Rochester after just one semester here. She cited distance and what she perceived to be a poorly-structured core curriculum as reasons for leaving.

A study done in 2010 by the National Association for College Admission Counseling reported that one in three students transfer colleges sometime during their post-secondary career. I find this to be a startling number, even if it is slightly outdated. The easy reprimand to give is that life is full of difficulties: you need to deal with and overcome them rather than copping out by taking a less challenging route.

It is plausible that some students choose to transfer out because of financial reasons, and that is acceptable. However, this isn’t always the case. What is the point of paying thousands of dollars, no matter what college you attend, to coast through four years and not learn anything?

During your time here there will doubtless be numerous occasions when you’re crouched over your textbook at 3 a.m. trying to decipher the latest physics homework or squinting through your Kant reading in frustration over his lack of clarity. And maybe at the end of the night you still won’t understand it, but at the end of the semester perhaps you will. By the time you are done with whichever degree(s) you pursue here, you will certainly have learned more than if you never had to study at all.

Maybe you didn’t spend over a year researching colleges before making your final decision to come here, but this is the school you chose. You committed yourself to CWRU through midterms and finals, parties and sports, all-nighters and missed alarms. You got into this school because you are capable of succeeding here, and don’t let anyone – including your conscience – tell you otherwise.

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