Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lemonade, Chocolate Cake, and Connections

I've already discussed both of these topics on this blog, but I thought that by putting them together, I could explain something that my classmates have questioned. The whole time that I was in college and hating it, I was told that there were lots of other students who didn't like our school and who had the same issues that I did, and that there was no reason to feel alone.

First, I must say to all counselors out there that just because something is "normal" doesn't make it okay. The fact that lots of students have a particular problem does not make it just part of the college experience. If we tell you that something is a problem, then it is.

But getting back to being alone, the fact that there were other people who had issues with my school does not mean that I wasn't alone. I will explain these differences using lemonade and chocolate cake.

Lemonade: Let's say that the school serves a particular kind of lemonade that most students love. There is a subculture of students who don't like the lemonade because they think it's too sweet. I take a sip of the lemonade and find that it's not sweet enough. It would need a lot more sugar before I would even consider drinking it. The whole time I was in school, I was told to go and bond with the subculture of students who don't like the lemonade either. But does that make any sense? Doesn't the reason that we don't like the lemonade make any difference? That's how it was at college - most of the students who had problems with the school had the opposite problems that I had, and the changes that they were working for would have made my own experience even worse.

Chocolate cake: When I was younger, I didn't like chocolate cake. Many times, when people would get into a conversation about what they liked and didn't like, other kids said that they didn't like chocolate cake either. But no matter how many kids said this, whenever we were at a birthday party and the chocolate cake was cut, I was the only one to not eat my slice. When other kids said that they didn't like chocolate, they meant that chocolate wasn't their favorite, that they would prefer something else, but I was the only one who actually didn't like it at all. I've had lots of conversations with students who didn't have the best time at my college, but they speak about it more like the kids who have a preference for vanilla cake but will still eat chocolate if it's the only choice. They had issues, but they were ultimately okay with it. They didn't hate or regret their experience the way that I did.

I know I've mentioned the lemonade and chocolate cake examples before, but I wanted to finally put them together, in the context of what I was actually talking about. I didn't know how to explain it at the time.

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