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I am close to finishing my second full year at Bethel (Spring 2013). I have to say I have hated my experience here more every day. Move in and welcome week was actually pretty enjoyable and people seemed nice and friendly. The student body here consists of 3 different types of people, the very stereotypical "Jesus Freaks" who think that prayer is the answer to everything and they volunteer on Friday and Saturday nights think alcohol is "of the devil" and are definitely waiting till marriage to kiss someone, then there are the stuck up girls and jocks who think they are better than everyone else (and at this school sadly they are), and then the people who party non stop starting Wednesday night till Monday. The rest of students here are pretty much outcasted and exiled. There is no balance between the two here. I really was strong in my faith when I came here and now I barely believe in God because of how fake and hypocritical everyone on campus is. I like to party about 2-3 times a week and I get judged extremely hard here and I don't even get extremely wasted. It is honestly worse than high school, if you're not in the very christian group of people then jocks are popular everyone else is a loser. I have never felt more unwelcome. It is a set of 2 big cliques, the Jesus Freaks and the "Popular" kids. If you do not get into these groups during the first month of school you will have literally nothing to do at all on the weekends. I literally watch netflix and play music in my room on friday and saturday nights all alone if I am not at a different public school hanging out with friends. Also, I am a very social person and have never had problems making new friends, I am only experiencing this issue here. The staff and education is actually pretty awesome. Really small class sizes, tons of options, dedicated staff and they challenge you in a good way to make you excel at whatever you are learning. However, EVERYTHING relates to God here. Which I should have expected knowing it is a christian school, with that said I had to write a 1000 word paper on a bible chapter for Management class, we integrate faith in our math classes and in our biology classes... It is super wasteful and overwhelming. The required classes here are absurd, so many bible classes that will not transfer to different schools. If you are a really strong christian and only want the same narrow minded youth group feeling you have had your whole life (no sarcasm or being mean) you will love it here and fit in. Also if you are a football player, or a baseball player you will be popular and have lots of friends. Extremely wealthy people also will fit in perfectly here. Everyone else honestly will be quite miserable. I can not wait to transfer out of this school. It is so judgmental and hurtful to my self-esteem. I will share a few quotes now. "Because you are a democrat you will go to hell." "drinking alcohol is of the devil" "Gay people should just not exist" What did you do this weekend? "I volunteered at this shelter and went to a bible study, did homework and made cookies with my roommates." Those are real typical statements I hear on the regular here. Bethel has good things to offer, like a beautiful campus, nice staff, and insanely great security. But the negatives like cliques, judgement, the fact that everyone leaves on the weekends, no student activities, nothing to do here on weekends, no city life, you can't party on campus and the fact that it feels exactly like high school ruins it for me. I would rank the campus atmosphere as a whole as a C-.
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