Transferring from one college to another was like floating in the Dead Sea and then suddenly getting airlifted to the Arctic Ocean. “It’ll be fine,” the pilot said from above. “You already know how to swim. You were just swimming.”
No sir, I was floating in the Dead Sea, big difference.
Transferring from The University of Miami to the University of Wisconsin – Madison has literally been like being airlifted to the Arctic Ocean. But staying at Miami would have just felt like floating and I didn’t want to float anymore. Though I have been yearning for just one day back in my life at Miami again, I just knew it wasn’t the place where I belonged.
I am ambitious to a fault. I was in two clubs at Miami while working for The Hurricane and being in shows. Some people have one dream job; I have three. I have so many passions and simply don’t feel fulfilled unless I am actively pursuing all of them.
But, in my eyes, the culture at Miami is not ambitious. It is stagnant and crystallized like the seasons. Things don’t change and progress like I hoped they would. Things are always the same: tranquil, tropical and peaceful. But the world around Miami, the world I want to impact and invest my livelihood in, is not tranquil and peaceful. It is broken and tarnished and full of promise and that was the world I wanted to be not just learning about but learning in. Miami was too perfect to be real and I was skeptical from the start.
I’d sit in my classes and see laptop after laptop open to Instagram or Amazon or Facebook. It wasn’t that the students didn’t care about learning; it was that they only cared about the specific thing they wanted to learn about. But I hunger for learning about anything at all (okay maybe except math) and seize at any chance to do it and felt so isolated in a place where people didn’t seem to feel the same. I walked through campus enwrapped in thoughts about the state of our world but when I listened to the people around me they all talked about Greek life or their next beach trip or the latest gossip in their friend group. It was clear that I just didn’t fit in. My priorities were simply not aligned with those of the students around me.
But, that said, being at Miami was the happiest two years of my life. I met some of my closest friends to this day and learned who I wanted to become. The more alienated I felt the more I sought out small communities within this big one I belonged in. I joined Best Buddies and discovered my passion for working with people with disabilities. I started working for The Hurricane and discovered my love for journalism. I molded the person I wanted to become at Miami. I just knew I had to go somewhere else to finally step into that mold.
UM is a wonderful, magical place and I know that it is a perfect fit for some people. It just wasn’t that for me. People here in Madison tell me I’m crazy for leaving Miami. But my instincts told me Miami wasn’t the place for me anymore and I know that they are the wisest of guides.
Here’s what this all boils down to: If you love Miami, that is great. If you don’t and feel like it just isn’t right for you, that is okay too. Just trust your instincts. I promise they won’t lead you astray.
Dana Munro is a TMH alum currently attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her column, Glass Half Full, ran every Tuesday in spring 2018