So I’m transferring from my school in Milwaukee to Kettering University. It’s been a long time coming, at least for me, even though I tried to deny it since day 1.
I don’t think I’m such a horrible person as to be stuck up or to not be friends with anyone, and I like to think I’m an open person, but honestly being at my current school is very trying. It wasn’t just being harassed; it felt like I didn’t belong in the school. When I was applying for colleges, I often scoffed at the notion of “fit.” If the school had a good reputation and gave me a decent amount of money I would be willing to go: the more money, the better.
Naive me had a rude awakening. The first day at school, or rather, the first day of orientation, I felt like I didn’t belong. I made acquaintances, I went to the welcome week events, I tried to get to know people, but the longer I was there, the more and more I felt like a freak. These kids weren’t like the ones I was used to back in my hometown-whatever that meant.
I grew up in liberal Ann Arbor, a hippie/hipster town where diversity wasn’t even a thing you had to encourage, it just happened. I grew up around all kinds of people, and I never had the luxury of only interacting with people who were exactly like me. In Ann Arbor, you learn to be totally okay with people of different race, religion, and sexualities and genders.
Not so in Milwaukee. Everyone was white. I would say 90-95% of the school population was white. I thought I was used to that, used to being the only nonwhite kid in the group, but what I didn’t realize was that the general climate of the campus was more close-minded (I hesitate to say conservative because not all conservative people are close-minded). Even in my first week, I felt acutely aware of my race, that I wasn’t white like everyone else.
Presentation was very hard for me, too. At home, after coming out I could dress as masculine as I liked and use any gender restroom I preferred, but I couldn’t in Milwaukee. It felt like everyone fit their gender role so well that any difference would be strongly discouraged. I went so far as to hold my pee in for five hours straight just to avoid using the bathroom.
That, combined with getting harassed, and having my hearing aids break and the school losing my replacement which was supposed to come by mail, felt like the final straw. Things did get better, I got a job, and I made more friends, but I realized that I didn’t want to stay in this kind of environment. I didn’t want to stay in a place where I felt like I didn’t belong because of my gender and race, where the LGBT student club refuses to send campus wide emails because they didn’t want their members getting harassed.
I applied to Kettering as a transfer student and got accepted. I’m in the process of getting a co op position, and am considering changing my major from mechanical engineering to computer science. All in all, right now is a time full of changes.
What I want to do for Wacky Onion is to keep it up, definitely, but now that I’m more busy with life, I can’t regularly add new content such as site layouts and articles like I used to. I will keep those up, mostly for nostalgic purposes, maybe keep them under an archive, and repackage Wacky Onion as more of a personal blog.
Here’s to hoping that everything will work out.