I feel like I should write this now or I will never write it. I didn’t mean that sentence to sound dramatic. It’s just, I’m lazy and I know if I don’t take the time to sit down and write something I end up never writing it.
Okay, here’s some background. I applied to Cal Lutheran my senior year of high school. It was one of my top picks, next to Chapman University. Turns out Chapman wait-listed me and Cal Lutheran gave me a scholarship, so I chose Cal Lutheran.
Why exactly was CLU my top pick? Well, it’s a small campus. I wanted to attend a small university more than anything else in the world. Taking shuttles to classes, being crowded into lecture halls, and scheduling meetings with professors wayyy in advance? None of that was for me. At Cal Lutheran I was able to walk to all my classes in 10 minutes (at most), sit in classes with 15 students, and schedule meetings with professors a few days in advance. Plus, Cal Lutheran has some really nice freshman dorms – another reason that compelled me to pick CLU.
So why in the world would I decide to leave all that?
For starters, Cal Lutheran was too far away from home. Sure, it’s not like I live out-of-state-far-away-from-home, but I still would have to drive for quite a bit and through L.A. traffic. I started to visit home almost every weekend, and if I’m going to visit that often, why not just stay? I missed the chili cheese fries I used to get back in middle school. I missed being able to get boba past 9pm. I missed being able to get good boba in general. I missed my mom’s cooking. I missed Yoshinoya beef bowls. You might be thinking, wow you must really love food. I mean, yeah I love food.
I’m not saying Thousand Oaks doesn’t have good food. I have a couple of favorite restaurants there. I’m just saying, whatever I find over there I can probably find back home. Plus, home has more options and places don’t all close at 9pm. What if I was craving ramen at 11pm? (And trust me, it has happened before.) I know Thousand Oaks is in the works of creating a downtown/central Thousand Oaks with more nightlife, but it probably won’t be completed by the time I graduate.
Home has one thing Thousand Oaks doesn’t have. Home has family. I love being home and with my family. I was always more of a family person anyway. I do get homesick sometimes while back in my dorm. It was worse when I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t visit whenever I wanted to. Every time I come home, I feel more like myself. My sisters are my best friends and I don’t have to be afraid to say or do anything with the fear that one of them would shun me.
I do have to say my first year at Cal Lutheran was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to college. I had great roommates who became good friends. I was doing really well in my classes. I lived in a beautiful apartment style dorm with this huge window that let in so much natural lighting and had a view of the courtyard.
I joined iCLU radio with my roommate Carly my first semester and got to do a show together the next year – Chai & Ramen. (She was Chai and I was Ramen.) And in my Spring semester my first year, I joined Odyssey. Obviously I didn’t stick with it if you read my other post, but I had a lot of fun writing my articles. When Odyssey was branching out to film, I got involved and started to be out of my dorm more often. This was when I realized I actually liked being out and about. I used to stay in my dorm all the time being anti-social Sally because hey, not everyone can be social.
My second year at Cal Lutheran was pretty great too. I met my boyfriend (or re-met him I guess?) Like I wrote in my other post, we got to visit different places and venture off into the world. I also became the History Department Assistant, a job I felt privileged to receive. I was also doing well in my classes, I got an A on one of my Civil War class’ paper – something that would lead me to the Festival of Scholars at CLU.
Then what went wrong?
Besides the fact that I wasn’t a fan of Thousand Oaks, I also wasn’t getting along with my roommates. They were the same as my freshman year with one added new roommate. Stuff happens, but it’s okay now. During that time I really did not like being in my dorm which was fine since I enjoyed being out and about getting stuff done. So what does this have to do with transferring? Couldn’t I have just gotten new roommates?
Yes, I could have just gotten new roommates. It was something I was planning to do for the next year since I didn’t feel welcomed in my own dorm. I was already thinking of who I can ask, but wasn’t going to ask until housing applications came closer. But something happened.
While I felt unwelcomed at my dorm, I went home often and was constantly reminded of how much I love home and my family. I was already drawing away from CLU. Cal Lutheran became more like a school – just a school – to me. It wasn’t a place for me to hang out at or anything. It was just this institution I was attending for education. This was when I started to feel like a commuter life was more for me.
What really tipped me over the edge was finding out my sister was planning to go back to college. Let me explain.
Every year when I received my pre-bill from CLU in the mail, I would panic a little. There’s just something so discouraging about seeing the price of your education. It’s even more discouraging when you see the amount of loans you’re taking out. And to top it all off, it’s just a nightmare when you see you still owe the school $5,000.
I was always thinking about transferring, but the thought eventually would fade away. Then I’m reminded again whenever I checked my tuition online or whenever the financial aid office would email me. I didn’t want to transfer because I thought it would be easier to just stick with the same school for four years. It didn’t matter how much debt I would be in. I would find a way to pay it all back. But this mindset just doesn’t work. If I transferred to a university with a lower tuition cost, this would relieve me of going through that cycle of stress and anxiety each year after looking at my bill.
This is where my sister comes in. When I found out my sister – who already got her degree – was planning to go back to school again, I thought to myself if she can do it, I can do it. If she’s willing to go through college apps again, I can too. I didn’t want to go through the transfer process with filling out applications, sending transcripts, filling out forms to leave your current school. None of that was for me. But I said to myself, suck it up and just do it.
So the truth is, I cannot afford private university – even with the scholarship they offered me. If Cal Lutheran was more affordable and closer to home, I probably would have stayed.
Will I miss California Lutheran University?
Yes. I will miss one thing for sure: the faculty and staff in the History Department. They have done so much for me. From giving me my job, nominating my essay to the Festival of Scholars, pushing me to apply to Phi Alpha Theta, and having my essay published in their academic journal. I’m forever grateful for all they’ve done for me. I learned so much from their classes and hope I live up to the potential they see in me.