I am a freshman here from a very small town in the southwest. I guess I realized from the beginning of last semester that Miami is a lot more sophisticated than where I’m from. I didn’t let it bother me at first, and I have made some good friends who aren’t shallow people, but recently I’ve started feeling really inferior to most of the people I find myself hanging around. I’m not from a very affluent family, but my family isn’t poor either, and I feel like I don’t fit in because I don’t wear the newest designer clothes, and I don’t carry around the best designer bags or wear perfect makeup all the time. This issue is starting to affect me so much that I’ve considered ditching my academic scholarship to transfer.
I don’t think that your feelings are unusual in the least. Attending a private university or any university for that matter exposes you to the way that people beyond your sphere live. In our case, we happen to attend a school full of very privileged people, and I can see how easily one could get caught up in the materialism that seems to run rampant here. I’ve heard of some pretty terrible cases where students, our peers, have actually run themselves into debt in order to fit in with the wealthy masses. I, for one, would much rather have money in the bank than a closet full of gently used designer bags and a Ferrari in the driveway, but nobody likes to feel like an outsider; this 20something phase of life is difficult enough, and if the easy opportunity (read: credit cards) to improve one’s self image with a quick fix presents itself, I can see how many would run to the mall.
It is definitely your persistent insistence to believe that the social schema works according to an “us vs. them” pattern that is fueling your low self-image and inferiority complex. But, do you not think that even the girls with the thousand-dollar bags slung across their shoulders also feel as if they are the “us” and everyone else is the “them?” Is it not possible that one’s need to parade around with the most expensive computers or the absolute best cars stems from feelings of low self esteem and a lack of confidence in one’s self? Uh, yes, of course! Do a five dollar pair of shoes not perform the same function as a $500.00 dollar pair of shoes?
Indeed, though it might seem daunting to transcend such petty thinking, it’s absolutely possible if you change your perspective on where you fit in on the pecking order. Clearly, if you have an academic scholarship, then you probably are a smart kid.; you have assets, the kinds that one can’t buy.
So what if you’re not bejeweled in diamond studs, if you let yourself feel like you are living on top of the world, it’s pretty likely that one day you’ll start to believe that you are entitled to feel just as good about yourself as everyone else appears to.
Best of Luck!
Fact o’ the Day.According to the Imperial College in London, a woman’s brain actually shrinks in size during pregnancy.
Please send probing inquiries to DearV@hotmail.com or in the office of The Hurricane. All questions and comments will remain anonymous. V is a senior majoring in Psychology and Creative Writing.