I'm Proud To Be A Community College Alumni And You Should Be Too

I'm Proud To Be A Community College Alumni And You Should Be Too

Thanks to community college, I've taken so many opportunities that have come my way.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Indiana Public Media

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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We Can't Plan Our Lives And That Doesn't have To Be A Bad Thing

It puts into perspective how very little control we have on this planet.

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Life will wreck your plans, every time, and I'm not really sure that's a bad thing. I think it just puts into perspective how very little control we have on this planet, and that's humbling.

I'm learning a lot right now about letting go. Having little idea of what I'm going to do after college or down the road can feel really daunting at times, but it's also forcing me to hold my heart in the peace of certain truths I know.

Truth #1: Nothing you ever do, or don't do, can affect your value. I believe in God, and His promises and the rooting I've found in Him destroy all other theories of my worth. You might not believe that. Regardless, I hope you know you're priceless. If we claim to care for humanity, I believe we have to also acknowledge that nobody could possibly have any more value than anyone else. Let's not commodify ourselves. There is freedom in rejecting the notion that you have to be a certain person to be valuable.

Truth #2: There is beauty in faithfully walking into the unknown.

Truth #3: Life is scary, but we've made it through a lot of scary stuff so far, and we can do it again.

Truth #4: The world is a very broken place, and the longer I sit in inaction, the more I know we have to do something.

Truth #5: Boundaries are important. Although I am put on this earth to create further goodness and spread further light, I can't do it all. I have to learn to live within the tension of being human and being created to give of myself to the world. Sitting in the now with uncertainty of the future allows me time to consider the kind of boundaries I want to retain in order to protect my heart from the trying times that are sure to continue coming.

Truth #6: Although sometimes I feel like I'm stuck because I can't plan the future, I'm learning. Every single day. I'm constantly being grown, challenged, and opened. The idea that we can be "stuck"... is kind of a lie. Every moment, every event, every experience is important. We just have to remain open to being changed.

Truth #7: The unexpected does not have to be negative. Surprises, and even obstacles, do not have to be received with stress or anxiety. We never know what is coming— if we approach and receive the things that happen to us unexpectedly with hope and positivity, stress and anxiety have a much weaker grip. Grief is necessary, and disappointment is human; mental battles are not easily fought. But we can fight. And we can hope. And we can be positive even through immense amounts of pain.

Truth #8: Sometimes the days with no plan are the very best.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixabay

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