When I was graduating high school in June 2016, I was planning on going to a private catholic school in Connecticut. After receiving as much financial aid as possible, I would have been paying around $36,000 a year. The thought of being around $150,000 in debt scared the hell out of me. But, at the time, the thought of going to a community college instead embarrassed me.

After my mom, my only parent, had a medical emergency, causing her to not be able to work for a few months, my life was shaken up. It became more and more clear to me that maybe my dream school was not a realistic choice. By the end of that July, I had made the decision to not go to that school and instead go to community college.

I am not going to lie, I was embarrassed. I was terrified to tell the people closest to me, my decision. I was even more terrified for my old classmates to find out. Being judged for going to a community college gave me so much anxiety. But once I told people, I realized that it was ok, in fact, people were proud of me.

Just because you go to a community college does not mean you aren’t smart enough. In my opinion, some of the smartest people go to community college instead. It is such a smart choice, and that is what so many people told me. With the price of college being so expensive now, going to community college and paying only a few thousand dollars for a semester was a weight lifted off my shoulders. Saving so much money on school, is definitely one of the biggest pros of choosing community college.

People are not going to judge you for going to a community college. They will not think less of you or make assumptions about you. And you should not think less of yourself for going to a community college. Never put yourself down for it. People will be proud of you for making the choice.

I definitely thought that I was mentally ready to leave home and live at college. To this day I still think I am, but I learned that living at home was a huge pro about going to community college. By living at home, I was able to keep a job while going to school. Yes, I know a lot of college students living at college have jobs too, but a lot of them don’t. Going to school and having a job made me a little more mature. I felt more like an adult than still a kid.

Personally, I did not need the “true” college experience, but I do understand some do. Just because you go to community college does not mean you won’t get that. They encourage students to transfer to four year institutions after the two years. Community colleges usually offer clubs just like four year schools, so if you were looking forward to being involved in college, you still can be.

It is ok to go to a community college. It is a smart choice instead of going to a four year school and graduating with massive debt. You will be getting just as good of an education. You will save money, and if you want you can still transfer and get the “true” college experience.