The summer before my senior year, I was ecstatic to see where I’d be in a year from now. I was anxious and excited to see this whole college application process unravel and I was looking forward to being somewhere far away with the opportunity to live life on my own.
As the essays were being written and my college decisions started coming in, I gradually grew more scared, nervous, and realistic of the reality. I, like most high school seniors, had my eyes set on going to a prestigious university or going to a place that I thought I loved for one reason or another. When I saw the hefty price tags tied to these schools, even after scholarships, though, I started to accept that I wasn’t going to be leaving home.
At the age of 18, I had no idea of what I wanted to do or what I loved. I enjoyed every subject, which just made for a headache when I had to put a major on every application. Anyway, around May 2014, I had accepted admission at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a twenty minute drive from home, and was trying to be happy with this decision.
For some reason, though, I never was. I was scared that I’d get lost, I was nervous that I’d be in general education classes with 200+ students, and I was confused as to why my parents were going to pay $600 per class when there was another option available.
When I first stepped foot onto the campus of College of Southern Nevada (CSN), I shamefully believed the common stereotype and thought that the people here were the ones forced to go to college or the ones that didn’t get in anywhere else. After graduating from a prestigious high school with high honors, I certainly didn’t think I belonged here.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the exact opposite was true. When I look back on my time at CSN, I am overfilled with memories of classes that I loved, professors who challenged me, friends who supported me and made me smile, and unique opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. For the time being, I belonged here and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
While at CSN, I took courses that covered the entire spectrum, from Physical Geography, Advanced Public Speaking, Writing about Literature, Psychology, and everything in between. Being hat I had absolutely no idea of what I wanted to major in, I tried taking a little bit of everything with hopes of finding a discipline that I loved more than the rest.
Aside from taking a wide variety of courses, I was also the Vice President of the Environmental Science Club, I worked as a tutor for tutorial services, I was involved in study groups with people who eventually became close friends, I attended field trips to places I never would’ve explored on my own, and I had relationships with professors who inspired me and taught me far more than just what was in the book.
Though I may not have realized it in the beginning, on December 8, 2015, I sure knew how much I’d miss being a Coyote as I walked out of my last final, knowing that my time here was done. I shed a few tears, was sad and scared to leave, and was eternally grateful for the people who made my community college journey so exciting, worthwhile, and memorable.
After going to a small high school where I had a lot of interaction with all of my teachers, I wasn’t ready to step onto a university where my professors may have not even known me. It’s taken me a while to realize, but I now see that this is okay and I’m extremely thankful that community college was an option.
For me, though, attending CSN was more than just another option. It was a school where I learned to trust in my knowledge and abilities again, a place where I grew as both a student and an individual, a community where I met some of the sweetest, brightest, and most capable people I’ve come across, and it was a home that gifted me with the skills, confidence, and courage that I needed to succeed at a university.
Though I was only a Coyote for 15 short months, I walked away with a lot more than I had ever anticipated to gain from a community college. Sure, I had an Associate’s Degree, but more importantly, I had bucketfuls of new knowledge, I was aware of my potential and had the determination to pursue it all, and I made friendships with people who have taught me more about life than I ever thought possible.
I, like so many others, didn’t go to community college because I was forced to. Instead, I chose CSN because I needed a stepping stone between high school and a university. I wanted more time to figure out who I truly was and what I wanted to do in life. I desired to take courses with professors who would know me for a fraction of the cost. And truth be told, I wasn’t ready to leave home and be on my own yet. Attending community college gave me the best of both worlds for the time being- I was able to stay at home and had all of my family around me and I also found the courage, trust, and desire that I needed to continue on to a university. And this time around, I was brave enough to venture away from home.