Summer of 2017 I felt like my world turned upside down when I received some news. After a year of attending a 4-year university, I fell in love with it. I was having the time of my life with my sorority and the best friends I made there. Everyday was an adventure, but my priorities were all in the wrong place. I put all of my energy into my social life and my grades plummeted, resulting in me no longer being able to remain a student there.

The thought of attending community college at first was something I felt ashamed of. The kids at the high school I attended were caught up in the status of which college everyone was attending, and I felt a lot of pressure to attend a big school with lots of parties. Losing the school I was at was difficult for me to accept at first, and I was down in the dumps about it for a long time.

Once I was enrolled at a community college and attended classes, I went into it with an open mind. I decided to make the most out of my situation and use this as an opportunity to make a change. As classes went on, I noticed how much more focused I was, there were very few distractions. I was much more motivated to study and do well, which was new for me. The feeling of being a successful student was very rewarding and put things in perspective.

Something that stands out to me about community college are my professors. At the large school I previously attended, there were very few professors that I felt supported by and felt like that they genuinely wanted their students to succeed. At community college I feel the complete opposite energy from my professors. They want their students to do well and make an effort to know them.

My community college professors make the classes challenging without setting their students up to fail. Unlike some may assume, they do not coddle their students and make things too easy. They support their students and want them to thrive, which personally to me makes a way better academic environment to be in. Community college is no easier than any larger school, it is just structured differently. Also, these schools do not have a lower quality of education or less resources than large 4-year universities. For example, my community college has a cadaver lab which is something that even many large schools do not have!

Just because you attend a large school and I do not, does not make you superior to me. It does not make you smarter or a harder worker than me. Assuming these things or looking down on community college students, in my opinion, makes you not only close minded but immature. Something that I admire about my community college is the student diversity. I have met students from so many different backgrounds, and this has changed my perspective on not just education but life itself.

I appreciate these experiences and these are things that I could not get out of a big university when I was there. Although there were many positive aspects of the other school I attended, there are just as many where I am at now! Neither students at these types of colleges are superior to the other. I respect those who agree with me and keep an open mind about community college.

If you are considering attending a community college, I highly encourage it. Not only is it a safe and smart financial decision, but it will open your eyes to what the world is like for people that are different than you. I have met so many genuine and hard working people from all sorts of backgrounds at my school. I think community college is the perfect opportunity to grow and mature before putting yourself into a completely new environment without your family when you may not be ready for it, just like I was not.

Labels are irrelevant because both types of students work just as hard as the other. Afterall, we all will end up in the same place one day. Attending community college is not something to be ashamed of. Being a community college student does not make you inferior to anyone else and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. You are receiving a different experience than others, embrace that!

Here is one of my favorite quotes that sticks with me everyday: "just because my path is different doesn't mean I'm lost." -Gerard Abrams. I am so grateful for not only my friends and family that support me and cheer me on in my academic performance, but my professors that have and do as well.