Why Attending Community College Was The Best Decision Of My Life
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Why Attending Community College Was The Best Decision Of My Life

Yes, I'm still a perspicacious assiduous dexterous convivial student.

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Why Attending Community College Was The Best Decision Of My Life
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Recently, I attended an event where there was a large number of prospective college students in attendance. Primarily high school seniors, and over a meal the dreaded question came up: "So, where are you thinking of going to college?" I, being in college already, simply reclined, smirked and relished not having to be on the receiving end of that question anymore. However, my hackles came up fairly quickly when one of the seniors scoffed and said, "I'm not sure where I'm going, but it sure as hell won't be community college."

The following conversation, until I interjected, went along the lines of, "I'll join the military before going to community college." "My family would disown me if I had to go to community college." Or, "We don't have to worry about going to community college, we did fine in high school."

Okay. Right. It was at about the "that's a place for people who have no futures in education and careers" point where I had to stop them with a loud "Well I went to community college for two years."

First, a shocked silence, then an onslaught of voices all at once. "Wait, really? But you're so smart!" "But you're in a good university!" "What happened?" Even the adults seemed somewhat perturbed, yet annoyingly sympathetic. "Was it because you didn't do well on your SATs?" One mom asked kindly. Another shook her head and said, "Universities are expensive, don't feel too bad."

Internally screaming at this point, I simply responded with, "No, actually it was entirely my own heavily thought out and weighted decision."

Community college is a growing trend in education, there are thousands of colleges in the country and the enrollment every semester is only marginally less than that for local public universities. I am in both of those statistics.

During my Junior/Senior year of high school I was faced with the tedious college applications. When it came time to select a single option from the drop-down menu for majors, I got stuck. Here I was, a 4.0 GPA student with years of foreign languages and glowing extracurricular activities and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. Had my education failed me? Where did I go wrong? Had my years of high school been for naught?"

I realize now that there are tons of graduating high school students who have absolutely no idea whatsoever what they want to do with their lives, which is thrown into sharp relief once the college applications come around. However, many of those students feel that they must know by this point, so they select a major that seems most appealing and sell their soul to a single school and a lifetime of debt.

I, however, sat down and thought about this. Did I really want to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars into a major that I wasn't 100% sure of? Did I want to spend half of that tuition for my GE, that everyone has to do no matter what school they attend? After weeks of soul searching, I realized: No. No, I do not.

I was, sadly, also a victim to the societally forced "community college is for deadbeats and drop-outs" thoughts. These thoughts having been forced upon me by public and private schools, friends, relatives, and society. Thankfully, my family was extremely supportive and encouraged me to experiment with classes in a cheaper but still quality education. So, I submitted my application to a community college and off I went.

My first day I walked onto campus and found myself surrounded by people of all ages. High schoolers, young adults, even middle aged to seniors. I admit, I turned my nose up a little. But, I walked into my first class, Russian language, and sat beside a forty or fifty-something year old woman and struck up conversation. She was working full time, a mother, and taking as many classes as she could so she could obtain her associates degree, and then she was going to transfer to UCSD to study to become a nurse. I was impressed by her ambitions. I told her my story, how I was planning to transfer as well, and she applauded me. Her words stick to me to this day: "I wish my kids would have gone to community college first, that's the smartest thing you can do for your education."

Through my time in community college, I was privy to the complaints from my peers who went straight to university from high school. They're taking the same GE classes I did but for $50,000.00 a semester as opposed to $3,000.00 a semester. Even though I know the student loans will ramp up as I pursue my PhD, I at least escaped a few years of them. Many career professionals and professors have even applauded my decision, claiming it's the better, smarter route in the long run.

Yes, perhaps I missed out on the "college experience" rowdy frat parties where I could spend nights in a drunken stupor with sloppy hookups, and I missed out on having a roommate or two to take up half my room with their mess and noise. Instead, I got to live in a clean, calm space and study and spend my weekends relaxing and exploring instead of praying to the porcelain god and then kicking myself for partying instead of studying. By all means tell me I'm missing out on the college experience by maintaining my sobriety and GPA.

Community college is not a place for deadbeats who can't handle university, it's not a place for high school or college drop-outs, it's not a place for people who don't care about their education, it's not a bad option.

I transferred out of community college into university after two years with a maintained 4.0 GPA, tons of new friends, beloved memories of fun classes and brilliant teachers. I'm at a solid $0.00 in debt, (seriously) and I know without a doubt what I want to do with my life. I'm double majoring in International Politics and Journalism and minoring in Linguistics and I couldn't be happier (or busier).

I told my story to my high school audience and their parents, all of whom listened in shocked disbelief. A community college student with perfect grades, high ambitions, not in any debt whatsoever, and in a good university? That's possible? No debt?

I saw the parents exchange looks with each other, and then glance at their prospective college student kids thoughtfully. I may or may not have convinced anyone that day, but at least I made my own story known. I conveyed that your path through college is your path, and your choice. I made my choice and set my own path, and I'm all the happier, (and less in debt) for it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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