I’m an Entitled College Student Lacking Self Awareness. Here’s an Essay About Something I Hate.
My study abroad experience didn't meet my impossible standards and I'm MAD.
“I imagined fun potluck dinners with my roommates, summer flings with people who called me ‘bella,’ gelato that dripped down my fingers in the heat, and natural wine that paired effortlessly with good conversation and better prosciutto. But when my semester in Florence came to an end, I grew to despise the sights, hated the people, and couldn't wait to get back home to my campus in New York.” – Business Insider
As a college student who’s never learned to appreciate anything in their life, I’m delighted to pen this cringe-worthy essay in which I whine about a privileged experience.
You see, I’m the victim of attending an elite university where I’m forced to select a delightful vacation destination to study abroad from. Even worse, I have to live with kids my own age in a great central location, and my parents will pay for all of it.
Before I left, I imagined returning with a fake foreign accent, lots of highly curated Instagram posts, and the ability to brag about my study abroad experience well into my 30s. Instead, I realized I had to reveal just how entitled I am to the entire internet, with help from an online publication eager to take advantage of my lack of self-awareness. Here’s why…
I lived with lots of people my own age
Imagine getting to live with a bunch of friends in a cool European city in your early 20s. Sounds pretty awful, right? Well, it was even worse than that. I had to live with 7 other people—which for some reason was a challenge even though I had already lived in a college dorm.
Did you know that when you live with 7 other people, each person has their own schedule, routine, and interests? I sure didn’t, and I grew resentful of the fact that everyone’s once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experience didn’t cater to my own schedule, routine, and interests.
If you think that makes me seem selfish, you might be surprised to learn that…
I was lonely
For most people, it’d be hard to feel lonely living with 7 other individuals, but somehow I found a way. I think a key ingredient was that I thumbed my nose at my classmates’ desire to travel cheaply around Europe and have fun. I would have preferred if they instead chose to stay local and hang out with me, even though I didn’t want to do what they wanted to do. In fact, I looked down on them for choosing to party in Amsterdam and Ibiza and share their experiences on social media. I mean, what kind of college students are these?
With my classmates gone every weekend, I spent time alone. You’d think this would please me, given my previous complaints about my living situation, but since I’m a walking contradiction, this also made me sad. Can you imagine having to spend solo weekends wandering a charming European city, exploring art galleries, and eating delicious local food? It was a nightmare.
You might be getting the impression at this point that I’m not so great at parties, so it’ll come as no surprise to you that…
The locals I didn’t like also didn’t like me
I treated the local people with scorn, distrust, and ridicule. So I was shocked and dismayed when I learned they also didn’t like me. I base this assumption on two random negative encounters, which I then used as a proxy for what all people who live in this city must be like.
In response to people of a different culture not meeting my American standards, I tried to actively provoke them by disrepecting their local customs. If they got upset, it just further reinforced my presumptive bias, which bordered on outright racism.
A general word to European cultures: if you’re going to let Americans come to where you live, you should also allow us to impose our way of life upon you without getting pissy.
I assumed the world would stop for me and it didn’t
As I said in my lede, I can’t appreciate things. So naturally, while I was on my once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses-paid study abroad trip, all I could think about was what I was missing out on back in America. I pitied my study abroad classmates who wanted to actually enjoy their trip, and I resented my American classmates who continued on with their lives even though I wasn’t there.
It was very important for me to get back to my real-life obligations of studying and working so that one day I might be able to afford a once-in-a-lifetime semester-long trip to an exotic European city of my choosing. Who knows, if I’m successful enough, maybe I’ll even be able to send my own children on a study abroad trip.
My only hope is that, when my children return from study abroad, they too will go viral for revealing just how entitled they are.
Q&A on the article
Q: Did you study abroad in college?
A: I sadly didn’t have the opportunity. I’ve heard great things though (this article notwithstanding).
Q: Did your disappointment over not being able to study abroad influence your decision to write this article?
A: Perhaps? I think everyone’s entitled to not enjoy study abroad. But if you’re gonna make a bunch of contradictory arguments about why you hated study abroad (e.g., I hated living with 7 people but I was lonely, I didn’t like the locals but I actively provoked them) and then publish those arguments in Business Insider, you have to anticipate folks will skewer you.
Q: Do you think you’re being too hard on the author?
A: Maybe. But I have nothing against them. That essay was just too good to not lampoon.
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