I'm 23, Still In College And It's Not A Big Deal

I’ve been in college since I was eighteen. I graduated from high school, went to community because it was cheaper and the easy thing to do.

Whenever I went to visit my friends at school I would lie about where I went, embarrassed by the fact that I settled for a glorified version high school that was fifteen minutes down the road. I would spend days in my friend’s dorm room sleeping on the floor next to his bed, trying to pretend I was getting the college experience myself. When I got fed up with community college, I decided it was a good time to transfer to a University fifteen minutes in the other direction.

I’m not going to lie, I did feel a bit of pride when I got my acceptance letter in the mail even though the acceptance rate is 74% and I’m not exactly an idiot. Unbeknownst to me, I was signing away all my community credits because I was so eager to leave that I never obtained my associate's degree.

Halfway through my first semester at my new University, I found out I was now two semesters behind.

I’ve unenthusiastically attended this University since Fall 2014. I’ve shown up to [almost] every single one of my classes, turned in every assignment on time and studied for every test. I’ve had professors that didn’t like me and I worked my a** off to keep my self-respect and my GPA up. I’ve studied for Spanish exams in the kitchen of my job, taped psychology notes to the shower door, became a regular at a local Starbucks reading for my poetry classes and pulled way too many all-nighters trying to carve all my writing into perfection.

I care a lot about school but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like it. I hit my breaking point one day my junior year after coming back from my international media class. I was walking to my car, which wasn't even close to campus. I had to park across a major highway because my school doesn’t like to provide us with parking, only to discover that it had been towed. I broke into complete panic which turned to full-on rage by the time the man who towed me picked up the phone.

An uncomfortable car ride with my mom, 40 minutes and $275 later, I got my car back and spent the entire drive home in tears. I don’t really think I gave a sh*t that my car got towed, I just think in that moment I realized how much I hated college. Since then I’ve seen a lot of my friends graduate and get ‘adult jobs’ while I’m still waking up at noon for class and waiting tables.

I’ve hit a lot of roadblocks in my college career. I’ve had a lot of mental breakdowns, a decent amount of panic attacks and a few of my friends talking me out of dropping out. I never understood why I needed math or sciences to write a book. I was never really good at either, but I passed with unimpressive colors. I might have struggled a bit but I’ve written so many poems, scenes and stories that I could probably publish my portfolio. Somewhere along the way, I learned a little bit about how to be a good writer.

I am currently a senior, in the middle of my last semester before graduation. I’ll be receiving my bachelor's degree in print journalism and creative writing. I’ll finally receive that piece of paper that might convince someone important that I’m a good enough writer. I worked hard to get where I am and I don’t think I’ve looked forward to anything more than finally earning this degree.

I turned 23 last month. It might’ve taken me a little longer to get that cap and gown, but hey, that’s alright.

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