As I mentioned in my last post I was really pressured into going there. From the start there were a lot of red flags I should’ve seen and jumped boat much sooner. But hindsight is a wonderful thing…

Here’s some background before I share my personal story:

The school had offered free tuition since it began. The belief was education should be “as free as air and water.” My freshman class was the first to ever have to pay tuition and it was a HUGE deal. When they first announced it there were sit ins in the president’s office, protests, and lawsuits. They decided with my freshman class to accept more students per major than they typically did because they assumed with tuition fewer people would accept the offer. Well they were wrong and our freshman class was HUGE comparatively. (My Calculus 1 class if you didn’t get there 10 minutes early you were not getting a seat.) Administration told the professors to fail more students because they needed to get rid of 10 students out of the 30 in each major by the end of the first year. Some professors believed they shouldn’t need to teach these “extra students” in each class.

When we were accepting our admission we were told no AP credits would be taken. Our first 2 weeks there they kept going back and forth and finally decided they’d take some AP credits but there would be stipulations for each one. Chemistry you just got out of taking General Chemistry. You couldn’t however get credit for Calculus I without having taken Calculus BC and obtaining a 4 or 5 and then passing a placement test. Physics was similar to how Calculus was. Most kids who took Calculus BC still couldn’t pass the placement test and wound back up in Calculus I. My high school only offered up to Calculus AB so I wound up in Calculus I with people way ahead of me. (Not to mention that Calculus I there covered topics typically taught in Calculus II at other schools.)

I had the same professor for Calculus I and Linear Algebra my first semester. He wasn’t a great professor to begin with. He assumed because he understood it everyone else did. When I would go to office hours he would take everyone else’s questions and when he got to me he would say he had to go. He told me girls don’t belong in engineering. He said if I failed one of my classes with him he would fail me in both. He even went on to say that he looked at my record and I was only accepted because I met multiple categories for their admission statistics by being a “white, Roman Catholic, female” and this was the reason “they don’t typically accept students from high schools like mine.”

He wound up failing me in both classes that semester and I got screwed by the bell curve in another class and wound up with a pretty brutal GPA. I wound up in front of standards (the professor who failed me in those two classes was on the committee) and they tried to dismiss me from the school. My dad went in fuming over what the professor had said to me. I wound up staying there for a few more years after that.

Just to add to everything that first semester, they claimed the scholarship and financial aid I had in my acceptance letter wasn’t actually true and they hit me with a $10,000 tuition bill mid-semester.

In February 2016 (my 4th semester there), I got shingles and then my chronic migraines flared up. My migraines got to a point that I couldn’t concentrate during class and couldn’t focus to do homework. I wound up taking a medical leave mid-semester. The school was not happy with that I was told that “true *school # 1* students wouldn’t take a medical leave. They would just work through the problem because school was more important.” When I came back from the medical leave the next semester I heard it all again. That semester wound up being my last one there and thankfully so. I was again failed in classes when boys with the same scores were passed with fairly high grades because “engineering isn’t for girls.” I was told time and time again I didn’t belong there because I was just their admission statistic.

My time there was very rough. The school itself was hard. They focused more on theory than application and that was a hard mindset for me. I struggled through a lot of intro classes but did well in my actual Civil Engineering classes. I was harassed by multiple students for all different reasons from being “too skinny” to being too stupid and because I wouldn’t discuss politics during the election. I had faculty and staff members call me anorexic. (I was always skinny and shingles, a multiple month long migraine flare, and pneumonia in a 6 month span can make you lose a good amount of weight.) My mental health was not great before starting there and it took an even bigger hit while there. My grandmother who I took care of the last year and a half of high school died in the middle of my second semester. I was also in an extremely verbally and emotionally abusive relationship that took a huge toll on me mentally for most of my time there as well.

So spring 2017 I left for school # 2 and that story continues next week…

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