Muhlenberg College - Comments and Student Experiences|
The housing is HORRIBLE. The rooms are tiny, they leak, and are often filled with mold. The office of residential life is unhelpful regarding your safety in your room. My room one year was leaking from the roof and the ceiling was falling down and when I called, they said it wasn't their problem.They do not care about their students comfort, both physically and mentally. They only want for you to pay them as much as possible so that they can make money and then waste it on needless spending.
As far as positives, I left after two years with a hard-earned 3.83 GPA, invaluable knowledge in economics, and having met the love of my life. While some classes at this school can be as hard as Harvard, if you reach out to professors and put in the TIME, most are very accommodating to help you achieve the greatest reading, writing, math, and test-taking skills you could ever imagine; the staff (at least in the Economics and Psychology departments) are second-to-none, and to say otherwise is a blatant lie and an insult to the institution. Also, along with developing a few close friends from Muhlenberg, I am still currently dating my last girlfriend I met there and I am strongly considering marrying her. I truly get along with and love this woman more than I could ever imagine loving anyone else, and I would neither have met nor developed my deep relationship with her had it not been for the proximity of people at a small school like Muhlenberg. Being that it is a small liberal arts college, Muhlenberg may not offer the size in students to attain many acquaintances, but does offer the proximity to develop deep, long lasting and serious, romantic relationships.
In terms of academics, I have no specific complaints and felt the education was phenomenal. However, internships and programs for business majors were scarce, which is one big reason why I transferred. I would recommend this school most for theatre and science majors, but without question, LEAST for business majors in regards to post-graduate job placement.
While my other reason for transferring was the cost alongside the lack of opportunities for business majors, my biggest problem with Muhlenberg as a whole pertains to some of the toxic social life I personally experienced. I do believe that everyone is an individual. Yet, I found certain people at Muhlenberg were very narcissistic, sheltered, narrow-minded individuals who would personally attack anyone who swam against the current of the ?Berg Flow? (as it had been called). Enabling such conformity, I thought, was detrimental towards individuality. Therefore, without considering the consequences, I had challenged this cultural norm that was widely accepted by the student body.
The first and most profound challenge I faced was my identity being subjugated by a rumor spread among the entire school, started by girls in the infamous all-girls ?Brown? dormitory. If a man was considered "popular" and had a ?personal connection,? he was allowed inside. Clearly, I had missed the memo when introducing myself as an enthusiastic freshman to multiple girls with their doors wide open who were silently displeased ? none gave me clear signals to pick up on this passive-aggressive social cue. The rumor grew from my being a man who was simply overly and creepily talkative to women to becoming a man that threatened to sexually abuse women in their dorms, which of course, could not have been farther from the truth. Unfortunately for myself and other men, multiple rumors had spread about multiple male students my freshman year...and these lies NEVER VANISHED. I can recall days where I would turn my head, make eye contact, and smile at a girl walking by whom I had never seen before...and then watching her give me a stink eye and turn her head away as if I were something vile. This rumor about me was so big that college feminists had supposedly spent more time analyzing and perpetuating this rumor, and casting out many nice men like myself as creepy and benevolently sexist, than paying attention to a date-rape problem among different fraternities (because these particular men were "popular" and therefore excused, which is socially indicative of the college's nickname, ?Muhlenberg High?). Friends of two of my girlfriends at Muhlenberg had dissuaded them from dating me as much as a year after because the rumor had stayed alive that long. In one case, even the parents of girls in a sorority were na've and interested enough to believe and spread it...so much so that one mother even reached out to my current girlfriend urging her to end relations with me. Had I been as aware of all the gossip about me told behind my back among students AND their pompous parents, I would not have stayed as long as I did.
Specific rumors aside, the deeply rooted aspect of social-life at Muhlenberg that facilitated these lies were the unbreakable cliques that formed soon after the first month of college. If you were not a part of one, you were considered socially awkward, and therefore, deemed a threat to the ?Berg Flow,? and more vulnerable and likely to experience social chastisement. Many people I had met in certain social circles would put on a fake act for anywhere from a couple weeks to several months. Some were so effectively deceitful that one could not help but trust these individuals. But unexpectedly - sometimes for no valid reason - if these friendly posers found something about you that they socially disliked, these people would both immediately and passive-aggressively pull away. Doing so very tactfully, these students became hard to read and unpredictable as far as reliability. Naturally, this caused me lots of paranoia and made me question about which people were my real friends, who I could really trust, and how much I could trust them.
My personal examples are with the Jewish and arts cliques. Among Jews, I was gradually seen by some as strange for being financially under-privileged, and was gradually seen by others as being a gentile because of my secular Jewish upbringing; I was made to feel like the ?black sheep? in a herd of Muhlenberg Jews. As a result, friends I thought I had made slowly pulled away from me. Similarly, among likeminded artists, many for no reason found something they disliked, and without warning, went from acting like best friends to treating me like a total stranger at best, and a pariah at worst. Although I was still a music/theatre/opera junkie, I could never feel like I belonged because of their personal castigation. To this day, I am supposedly still talked about among their social circles even years after I have long transferred schools...for two reasons:
1. The Brown dorm rumor
2. Competition among artists; those who felt threatened by others? talents would routinely put down these other artists to get ahead (so long that these other artists were ?unpopular;? "popular" artists were untouchable)
Despite my negative experiences in social life at Muhlenberg, I do not regret one second of any emotional pain I endured because I still made a few QUALITY friends, met the love of my life, and grew as an emotionally mature and smarter individual. While it is ideal to see only the good in people, it is not only unrealistic, but it is detrimental to one's emotional wellbeing if these mean people fail to meet your benevolent expectations of them. Instead of trying to fit in completely OR fight the current, be polite and swim with the current until you find your own unique inter-coastal waterway where you can swim with true-blue friends that you trust love you for being YOU, and NOT for being wealthy or popular. What this means:
1. It means not forcing yourself into social situations where you know you may face rejection, where you may accidentally invade personal space, or where people might be of poor quality, pretend to invite you into their so-called clique, and then turn their backs on you.
2. It means taking the time to observe how people act, and listen not only to what they say, but HOW they say it, before trusting that they are being genuine with you.
3. It means staying true to yourself and choosing people of value...choosing quality of friends over quantity.
Before going to any college, but especially before attending a highly elite, intense, sensitive social environment like what exists at Muhlenberg...KNOW YOURSELF. Be yourself within REASON of the situation. Do not choose the all-or-nothing attitude that may have worked among extreme personalities in high school by either completely conforming or being completely nonconformist. Take the summer before freshman year to become as wise, mature, and adult as possible, and to find a healthy balance that will allow you to bullshit and socially manage around people you do not yet trust while being yourself around people that you DO trust. Follow my advice, and this will most likely optimize your social happiness throughout your four years at Muhlenberg.
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