University: my future

Right now, I am in the process of trying to decide what university I will be attending next year. Yeah, I know, like biggest decision of my life so far… and I feel like it’s all coming down in my subjective mindset to sexuality shit.

After sundry rejections and discarding places I just don’t want to go to, I’m faced with a decision between two institutions, both big, academically-prestigious universities in the US. The academics at University II are considered to be better than at University I, but there’s no denying that I’d get an amazing education at either school. In many ways, University II (henceforth “U2”, with apologies to the band) is seen to be more conservative, “old school”, than University I (“U1”), despite its incredibly active and apparently really cool LGBT group. U1’s LGBT group is less active, but they have gender-neutral housing: this year you can only request it if you’re transgender or genderqueer, and I definitely don’t want to get into a thing with my parents about that, and I’m not really sure I’m genderqueer anyway. But next year it will be an option for everyone, and that’s a huge plus for me.

But you know what U1 has which is almost the tipping point in my decision? That’s right: a BDSM discussion group. The only one I’d ever heard of was the one at Columbia, and U1 ain’t Columbia. But there I was reading the list of student organizations at U1, looking for a literary magazine or something to join, and the words “Safe, Sane and Consensual” popped out at me. Yup, it was what I thought it was: really really really truly a BDSM discussion group for students at the school. I was so excited… and then two days later I got my admission to U2.

I’m excited by the idea of being an iconoclastic student at U2, in more ways than sexually. But yeah, I could go ahead and start the BDSM discussion group at U2, and I have no doubts that I could find some people among the undergraduate student body to join it. But I’m just so tantalized by the idea of attending a university where such a thing is active and condoned and all (they even sell funny t-shirts) that I’m willing to discard all trailblazing sentiments, all notions of better academics, and even the great financial aid that U2 gave me (U1 didn’t give me any; all I get are federal grants).

I know this is a terrible reason to make a decision that’s going to impact me for the rest of my life. But oh how wonderful it would be to deal with this shit in real life.

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4 Responses to “University: my future”

  1. Jonathan Kay Says:

    If I were you (which of course, I’m not) I’d think twice about going with the school which doesn’t get you the better financial aid package (which I assume is in th form of grants, not loans). The federal student loan system is to put it bluntly, merciless. I have a friend whom they’ve literally hounded for 20 years because he’s had trouble paying back his student loans, and not even law- or medical-school sized ones either.

    I realize that having an already-functioning place where you can fit in, no sweat is worth a lot. Not being *owned* by a student-loan lender (do a Google of “student loan justice” and see what I mean) is IMO worth much more. Just my two cents’ worth.

  2. While I realize that a BDSM discussion group is a bad reason to choose a university, there are other reasons why U1 is still in the running. I’m very definite in thinking that education is worth debt, but that’s just me.

  3. Education is worth debt, although if you can get what you want from your education without a huge amount of debt that’s a glorious thing indeed. A functioning BDSM group is not, however, worth a university. If a kink-friendly social life is really important for you at your future school see if there are any organizations near U2 with TNG groups, but it shouldn’t be a major factor in your decision. Go to the school where the academics most fit your needs – you’ll find friends and a life wherever you go (assuming even a moderately liberal campus – which seems to be the case at both schools). And good luck! Huge decision. I sometimes regret the secondary reason I chose the school I chose (to room with my best friend – who 3 months in I could no longer stand the sight of), but I’m very happy with the education I got (my primary reason was the program I enrolled in, although I might have ended up happier at the smaller school with a similar program and a scholarship).

  4. Yeah. You’re absolutely right.

    Yesterday I enrolled at U2, which does in the end, I think, have better academic opportunities (though again, I won’t deny that the LGBT Center there played a large role). Who knows? Maybe I could start the BDSM group there.

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