Growing up, you're stuck with the same group of kids for 18 years. Your best friend in second grade becomes a total stranger by seventh, and your best friend in seventh grade becomes your worst enemy by junior year.
No matter the change in friendships or the drama you go through, you're all faced with a big decision that affects your futures. No longer will you wake up every day and sit next to the same person in class each year. Instead, you have to decide where you want to go next. You get a reality check: The group of kids you spent the last 18 years of school with aren't going to be around anymore.
So many seniors have no clue where they want to go for college or they may just not be able to afford it. In my case, I was completely clueless and paralyzed by fear thinking about the amount of debt that would be racked up and waiting for me after college graduation.
I had plans to attend a four-year university located at the heart of my state. So many others in my high school class were going to attend prestigious schools and had bright plans laid out ahead of them. Me? I didn't know what the heck I was doing. All I knew was that I was "suppose to" leave home and go off to college.
But instead, at the last minute, I took a different route. I attended a local community college, and the amount of shame I felt for it was ridiculous. Now, I feel no shame and I'm embarrassed that I ever felt that way.
Because I attended a community college does not mean that I am stupid. It doesn't mean I struggle with my studies. And it most definitely doesn't mean I am "less" than everyone else.
I had family members who were livid by my choice to attend a community college and I had friends who were mortally embarrassed.
All I wanted was support. Looking back at that point in my life, I was not ready to attend a four-year college. I wasn't ready to leave home. I had no idea what I wanted to do and that was perfectly okay.
By attending a community college, I was able to save money and grow academically, emotionally, socially, and mentally. In that time, I found a passion.
Since then, I have transferred to the school I originally laid eyes on my senior year of high school. My grades from my community college allowed for me to earn two scholarships to cover my tuition. I've taken so many opportunities that have come my way.
So the next time you laugh behind my back or shame me for my education, I'll be waving from my yacht while you are chained down by student loans. This isn't high school anymore. I don't care if I don't fit in with your traditional middle-class outlook on life. I am proud of the decisions I have made, and maybe you should be proud of me too.