How did I end up here?

The story of how I ended up here at the University of Mount Union is unlike most of the others. Mount Union was never my first choice. In fact, it was not even an option when I was looking at schools to transfer to from my home of Penang, Malaysia. No offense. You see, Mount … Read more

The story of how I ended up here at the University of Mount Union is unlike most of the others.

Mount Union was never my first choice. In fact, it was not even an option when I was looking at schools to transfer to from my home of Penang, Malaysia. No offense. You see, Mount Union is a small, liberal arts college located in a little city called Alliance in the state of Ohio. That sentence alone was enough to drive away many students where I come from.

The problem is that, in Malaysia (and most Asian societies), we put too much emphasis on the name or brand of the school. We also think too much about the city and where it is at. Truth is, it doesn’t really matter.

It was already my sophomore year in college when I was searching for an American institution to transfer to. I studied in a program that allows us to take general education courses and then transfer to an American college to complete our education. The names that came up while I was looking for colleges were all big state institutions; names like the University of Kansas, West Virginia University and Ohio’s very own Ohio State University to name a few.

Eventually, after spending months sending out applications (and my horrible transcript), I had finally decided upon a school. I would have friends there, which was always going to be a good thing, but it was also a very big school that has a solid reputation. I was going to KU.

With my flights booked for Lawrence, Kansas, I had everything set and was excited to finally start my American college life. I had all my commitments in my hometown dealt with, and goodbyes prepared. But what I didn’t know was that two years later, I would not be in Kansas.

A couple of months before I was scheduled to leave, a recruit from an unknown college called University of Mount Union came to my home state of Penang. He had connections there. Being a small state, my parents happened to know the parents of an alumnus. Through their connections, the recruit and my parents met. I was not there to talk to him. After the discussion, it was agreed that I would give it a shot and apply for Mount Union. With little time left, it was uncertain as to whether I would even get accepted or if so, get it done in time.

I heard back from Mount Union a couple of weeks later and a pretty good offer was placed at my table. It was a difficult decision to make. I had my KU acceptance letter sitting in front of me while the offer from Mount Union sat next to it. Going to KU meant going to a big college and experiencing what we normally see on TV. Going to KU also meant that I had my friends from home there with me. Mount Union, being a small college in an unknown city, was a huge uncertainty that I wasn’t sure I was willing to gamble on.

Inevitably I had to make a decision. Mount Union was going to be more affordable than KU, but what it offered was way more than just financial. Mount Union would have smaller class sizes; no bigger than any class I have been in while I was still home. Mount Union was always going to have a better and more inclusive environment.

My flights to Kansas were changed. Canton-Akron Regional Airport was my new destination.

Here I am, two years later, blogging for the college that I had never heard of before; being a proud Purple Raider. I had the opportunity to play a season of soccer for the junior varsity team and train with the tennis team. Oh, not forgetting the fact that I was elected president for the Association of International Students.

Funny how things take a totally different course and change your life forever.

Frat Parties: Unlike the Movies

You have all seen the typical college/high school movie. The ones where jocks rule and the weird kids get pushed around. The ones where there are endless parties at fraternities and freshmen get hazed in order to get into one of the fraternities. It’s a lie. By now, those of you who have read my … Read more

You have all seen the typical college/high school movie. The ones where jocks rule and the weird kids get pushed around. The ones where there are endless parties at fraternities and freshmen get hazed in order to get into one of the fraternities.

It’s a lie.

By now, those of you who have read my blog posts will know that I am a transfer student from Malaysia and I have been here since January 2011. I have never been to a frat party over the past four semesters. It was always something I had chosen to avoid because, sorry to say, I’m not a big fan of that culture. And by “that culture” I mean fraternities and sororities.

Nevertheless, I have always had that image in my head. The idea that frat parties are always insane and out of control. The idea that all frat boys do is party day and night. Can you blame me? The amount of movies that depict this exact scenario is insane!

This semester, I decided to put aside all my prejudice and give it a go. I wanted to be a more open person. I thought that if I were to be accepted by American students for my diversity, I should also give their culture a chance. So I did. I went to a frat party. No, I went to two.

The first was a month or so ago at Phi Kappa Tau. I was genuinely excited. It was going to be the first time I stepped foot in a fraternity and the first time I attended a frat party. It was by far the strangest experience I have ever had. The party was unlike anything I had seen in the movies before. It was bizarre and a little appalling. What I saw there, I could never UN-see.

Then on Friday night, I had decided to give it another go; thinking that I might have just went to one of those bad ones. So I went to the Sigma Nu “Saints and Sinners” party. My initial concern was that I had no idea how to dress for the theme. But as soon as I stepped into the party, I knew that all my concerns were for nothing. That was because no one actually dressed like the theme suggested. It was, in every aspect, “just another frat party.” This time, I did not stick around. I left. Very rapidly.

I guess coming from Malaysia, I had a different idea of how frat parties were supposed to be. In many ways, I was disappointed. Everything that I had seen in movies were just fictional scenarios made up by screenwriters to over-exaggerate the actual thing. But I suppose I was also relieved that I did not like it. I am now safe from the possible frat party addiction.

I was not impressed, guys. Most of us international students expected more from all the movies we have seen about frat parties here in America. But no worries, maybe it’s just because I myself have had little experience with parties back in my hometown over the last summer. Maybe.