Former University of Miami student talks mental health struggles: ‘I literally had to figure out if I cared about being alone or doing well in my classes’

A college graduate is opening up about her difficult time attending one of the country’s most notorious party schools.

Katie Samuel (@katiesamuell) studied pre-med at the University of Miami. Now, on the cusp of starting dental school at Indiana University, she’s taken to her TikTok to discuss life in an environment that didn’t necessarily emphasize academics.


Replying to @arianastewart3 My UMiami experience 🫠 If you go to UM and are struggling like I was, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Do not sacrifice your mental health and academics just to hang with the party crowd. Everyone’s UM experience is different, but do not discredit those that are struggling mentally there🫶🏼 #umiami #umiamirush #umiamidecision #umiamiacceptance #collegedecision

♬ original sound – K80

“I went to U Miami as a biomedical engineering major, and I was pre-med. So, yes, my workload was f****** atrocious,” Katie explains. “Aside from the fact that my freshman year roommate experience was quite literally traumatizing, I was very excited for a sorority. I rushed, I got in to my favorite one, and I was, like, on top of the world.”

Katie points out, however, that U Miami wasn’t exactly known for prioritizing academics.

“The issue about U Miami that a lot of people don’t realize is that for someone like me, where I wanted to go to medical school, my only priority needed to be doing well in my classes and having a high GPA and building that resume,” she says. “But when you go to school in party central, everyone around you is obsessed with being in party central.”

“I literally had to figure out if I cared about being alone or doing well in my classes.”

Explaining this to her friends, Katie says, wasn’t always easy.

“It got to the point where it was either I was going out with my friends, having fun and let my GPA drop, or I was completely alone, depressed and studied my a** off to do well in my classes,” Katie admits. “So, I literally had to figure out if I cared about being alone or doing well in my classes.”

Eventually, she realized that the people whose opinions she cared so much about didn’t reciprocate the sentiment. In junior year, Katie lived on her own and focused on school but “fell into the biggest depression” of her life.

“Just because U Miami is in an amazing city, you’re near the beach and it’s beautiful, doesn’t mean that a lot of kids that go there aren’t struggling mentally,” Katie shares. “I didn’t hate everyone at U Miami. Like, my Pike friends, my little, my dance friends, my engineering friends — those are my best friends to this day because I know they genuinely care about me, just how I care about them.”

“…you need to stay true to yourself and do what’s bets for your mental health and do what’s best for your academic career…”

Katie shares some words of wisdom for current and prospective college students.

“Every college will have a drug scene and every college will pressure you into partying. But you need to stay true to yourself and do what’s best for your mental health and do what’s best for your academic career, because those are the four years that will make your adult life,” she urges.

“‘Party friends’ r not ur real friends”

TikTok users are sharing their thoughts on Katie’s video and college experience in the comments.

“something to note too is a lot of rich kids go to UM so they have the cusion of not caring ab their grades if their family is loaded lol,” one user wrote.

“’Party friends’ r not ur real friends,” another claimed.

“All so true!! The amount of people I thought were my friends who completely stopped talking to me when I stopped going out a lot was wild,” someone shared.

As other commenters note, Katie’s experience isn’t limited to one school — the notion of losing friends based on your desire to switch gears and focus your attention elsewhere can happen at any institution. It really comes down to the company you keep.

“This can be any school… pick your friends wisely,” a TikToker wrote, to which Katie responded, “Very true.”

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