Throughout my time at Case Western Reserve University, I have always felt secluded. One of the main reasons was that as an undergraduate, I lived with my parents and commuted to campus for four years. I never felt a part of campus, even though I took the same classes as every other student and should have been an equal.
I also felt secluded because of my double major in the humanities in history and English. I always felt like I wasn’t considered as smart as my peers in the hard sciences or in the engineering program, as if my coursework was so much easier than theirs. As a graduate student, I thought this might not be as extreme, but I still see it when I go to workshops with medical students or nursing students. As a social work student, sometimes I still feel my work and experiences are undervalued by others at the university. I think this needs to change.
I believe that a university should be a diverse learning environment for all types of subjects, and not just the one that a student chooses to major in or start a graduate program in. I enjoy hearing about other students’ experiences and respect these, and I believe that with less division at the school, there could be more respect and cohesiveness among students in undergraduate and graduate programs.
To fix this, I think students should be encouraged to visit other parts of campus. Perhaps having some science lectures scheduled on Mather Quad and more humanities classes on the Main Quad.
To encourage more cohesiveness among students, student organizations can host more social events to create social environments that allow students to learn more about each other. Although the financial burden would be placed on student organizations, these events might turn out to be some of the best of the semester.
Students in different programs at CWRU can interact more if class locations are changed and events are more integrated. I hope that in the future, other students do not feel as excluded as I have so many times throughout my years at CWRU and can feel like they are an important part of the university, irrelevant of their academic program. I think that each student at CWRU has something to offer and is here because they are intelligent and hardworking.
Abby Assmus is a graduate social work and bioethics student.