I'm a recovering addict interested in going to Hampshire. Everything I'd read about it sounded perfect for me (liberal arts school, location, non-traditional grades, self paced, intellectual crowd), until I heard about it's drug reputation. Personally, I can't afford to get back into drugs of any sort (last time I used I spent weeks messed up and ended up flatlining in ICU during a five day blackout), and I'm wondering how realistic it would be for me to go there and stay away from the drug culture. I know there's a certain amount of drinking/drug use that goes on at any college, and I'm just wondering how Hampshire compares. Are there sober dorms? Recovery programs? Does anyone know?
We went for a visit last summer and the guide said there is a sober dorm or whatever they called it. She also said there is a very strong network culture among students almost like the same way an academic honor code works... while the admin doesn't think its their role to be out being cops after the kids, the students themselves watch out for each other and will go get help for anyone in trouble. And besides my mom grew up near Hampshire, and she says the "drug reputation" they refer to at Hampshire is undoubtedly about pot. If anything, the students may like weed a little more than they do at some other colleges, but pot won't end you up in IC. Other stronger drugs would not be seen as particularly socially acceptable there, and pot is more socially addictive than it is chemically addictive, so just announce immediately to anyone around you, friends and dormmates, that you don't want to /can't be around that and they will not only accept that but should respect it and support you in it. I don't think that you should not apply for that reason. Maybe a student could comment further, but that's my 2 cents. And PS congratulations on your sobriety and efforts to maintain it.
I'm a student and I can attest to the fact that drugs are everywhere. It's going to be very difficult to stay away from them. People use them out in the open and even in the substance-free dorms. I don't know if i would risk it.
My best friend also goes to Hampshire. He does not do drugs or drink, and it has taken him some time to find the other people who feel the same way, but they are there.
From what he has said, and from visiting, I think there is probably more pot smoking at Hampshire than at some colleges, but there is less binge drinking. It is more like Wesleyan, Oberlin, Bennington, etc. In other words, the small LAC's that don't have a greek scene, are liberal, etc.
I have friends at larger, more mainstream schools and there is less weed, but more coke and alcohol. My point is, I don't think you should necessarily avoid Hampshire because of the drug use, I think it will be very similar wherever you go, in terms of substance use. Hampshire has a terrific academic system, and is unbeatable when considering the five college consortium. If you feel like it is a good fit, it would be a shame to miss out on that.
I think it will be important for you to determine if there is some kind of support system in place for you wherever you end up going. Good Luck
Wow! That is a heavy thing to have to deal with when thinking about going to college anywhere, except maybe a religious college. I don't know what to think about you going to Hampshire. There is definitely weed here, and some drinking. The ratio of each might be reversed at some other schools, but I don't know if that affects you. Is alcohol an issue too? I am assuming you have had to develop some strategies for coping with being around people who are partying, or do you just try to completely avoid that sort of thing? I am afraid it would be hard to avoid it totally here, but am also not sure that that wont be the case at any school..........
terminalcommuter - you are going to find drugs anywhere you go. My work involves being with HS and young college aged people and they all agree - drugs are everywhere. My nephew graduated from H. recently and said that in his 4 years there the drug scene actually decreased and the academic scene increased. Could be it was due to him paying more attention to his academics...I don't know. Every college has drugs - how you handle the exposure and temptation is up to you. Even religious schools have drugs, don't let them tell you that they don't. Possibly not the super straight kind like Oral Roberts or the like, but the others do. Whereever you land, you are going to have to either excuse yourself from those situations, develop a circle of friends who know your history and will help you out, or be incredibly strong. My d is interested in transferring to H. and is not into the alcohol/drugs scene...of course she'll experiment - we all do (pretty much) but as another poster said, you will need to make friends with like people OR at least people who will respect and honor your choices. And I also say congrats on your sobriety. Good luck.
terminalcommuter: i don't know if you decided to apply, or if you got in, but if you did and you decide to enroll, i'd definitely like to reach out as someone who will be willing to be a friend and accept you as you are, with no pressure to do anything unhealthy, and as a supporter.
i got into hampshrie! and i m lookin forward to join it this fall. While selecting my colleges i did a lot of research and came to conclusoin that the seemingly "drug culture" at hampshire is all overrated if not entirely baseless. I ve been checkin the demographics and it showed that hampshire astonishingly had fewer abusers. I totally agree that every college has its share of pot smokers however at hampshire allows it doesnt mean it advocates it or everyone there smokes it and drops dead everytime they get inside the classroom.
rather one should look at it as very few of the college that doest judge you in thier own pre prescibed ways. at hampshire u are appreciated the way you are. and here you are not to defeate someone or get hightest marks you are there for the sole purpose to study that instrest you!