I remember the week I applied for college like it was yesterday.
So many emotions were running through my mind and I was so overwhelmed. I was sitting in a classroom filled with friends that I had known since I started school and a variety of college representatives trying to get me to believe that they were the best choice for me. I signed piles of papers and as scared as I was; I was equally excited to go off somewhere and start all over. I had made up my mind after that day - I was going to go away to college and start this whole new journey in my life just like all my other friends were doing. My hometown community college was not an option and plus, who would wanna go somewhere that was "just like high school" anyways? No one I knew. I was stuck in the mind-set that I couldn't get a "real college experience" unless I went to a 4-year university.
As the last few weeks of high school approached, I started receiving letters to the places I applied and I told my parents how excited I was, but even though they were excited for me, they were cheering for my hometown community college. And all along while I was waiting for these letters, I had already received my acceptance letter to that community college weeks prior. So, while everyone else was planning their big move, their roommates, and dorm decorations - I had decided I was ready to go to the college down the road, next door to my siblings like every year, and looking at the same comforter and sheets I had always had. I had it in my head that my parents didn't want me to go because they were going to miss me a little and they just weren't ready for me to leave, but in reality, they were just helping me make the right choice. The choice I DON'T regret. It's crazy how you feel so ready, when you are really not.
So, here we are, it's my high school graduation and guess what? I went and started my first semester of school at my hometown community college that fall and I could not have been anymore excited than I was on the first day. It probably didn't help that I was looking at the reasons from the beginning as realistically as I should have. There really are so many reasons TO GO to a community college first. They say that it's for the "cheap" and you don't have a social life at all, but this so untrue! If it's for the people who 'choose' to be cheap, then call me the cheapest out there. Whether you attend Harvard or your hometown, down the road community college, you have to take basic education classes. Why wouldn't you want to get them done where it cost you less? I personally think it was easier for me to not be distracted and to excel because I did my classes at a "cheap" or "easy" college.
So, here I am now, in my fourth semester of community college with one to go before graduation! I am hoping to get into my first choice school and because of my grades and GPA at community college right now, I am eligible for a scholarship that will provide me two full years of paid tuition there. I don't know if this would have been possible if I had gone off to a university first. I have seen so many of the friends that I told goodbye to, come back to what we know best over the last year of college - home. At the end of the day, I am coming out with less student debt and for as many people as I do know at my little hometown college, there are just as many that I don't know, so I am also leaving with some new, homeward friendships. Just remember that one day when you're applying for a job, they will look at where your diploma is from, not the steps you had to take to receive it before then.
If it's one thing I've taken from this: home really is where the heart is and definitely do not to "knock it before you try it".