3 Reasons Why You Should Go Away To College

3 Reasons Why You Should Go Away To College

Choosing to go away to college can be tough, but it'll be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Your Senior year of High School can be one of the most exciting, confusing, exhilarating and terrifying years of your life. Not only are you closing an incredibly important chapter of your life, but you are also making huge decisions about where your future will take you, and that can lead to some intense decision making.

It feels like forever ago that I graduated high school, but when I did I had a solid plan in place. After a missions trip to Kenya, my heart changed and I decided to alter all my plans at the last minute, but I am so grateful I did! I chose to move a thousand miles away from home and go to college in a place where I literally knew nobody, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Since then, a lot of high schoolers have asked my advice on going out of state for school, so I wanted to share the top three reasons I believe you should go away to college.

1. You can truly start fresh.

A lot of teenagers tend to think that you really figure out who you’re going to be while in high school, but that couldn’t be more false. College is the place where you try new things, learn new things and meet new and different people. When you decide to attend college close to home, or somewhere you know a lot of people from high school, it can feel difficult to break out of your high school persona. People will know you, so they will assume you are the same old girl or guy. When you go away to college, you can be a different person, and truly figure out who you want to become. You have a genuine chance to be different and let that shape who you will become.

2. You will gain a different kind of independence.

Personally, I felt like I was a pretty independent person when I graduated high school, but going over a thousand miles away from home, made me realize just how much learning I still had to do. My Mom had always been the type of parent who made me figure things out for myself, but was always there if I needed help or had questions. I am forever grateful that she did that, because it made me try to figure things out on my own before running to her. When you go away to college, not only will you start becoming the person you want to be, but you will start becoming more and more independent. Your parents and family won’t be there to do things for you, so you’ll have to figure them out. You will truly begin to step into adulthood, which can be a good and bad thing!

3. You make lifelong friends.

Going to a school where I knew nobody, and my family was so far away was honestly terrifying. When I dropped my Mom off at the airport, the day before orientation started, I was overcome with a sense of fear, but then almost immediately it settled and became excitement. College is most often the place where you will make lifelong friends. When you go away to school and your old friends aren’t there to fall back on, you become more genuine in the way you make friends. I made some of my very best friends in college, and I don’t believe I would have made those same kind of friendships if I had stayed close to home. I couldn’t go home very often, so I started to form my own little family at school, and it was the best thing.

There are so many other reasons to go away to college, those are just a few that I believe truly stand out. Don’t get me wrong, going away to college is not for everyone, but if you are even thinking about it I would encourage you to try it out for at least one semester. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy, there were times where I was so homesick I would just curl up in a ball and cry, but I never let it stop me. After four years, and countless classes, I came out of that place with the sweetest friendships, a growth in myself that I don’t believe would have happened without that school, a great education and an incredibly hot husband.

Go away to college, try something new, be a different person, and don’t let fear hold you back from anything!

Cover Image Credit: Megan Hughlett

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Rejection Does Not Determine Your Worth

Getting rejected from something you've wanted can be a huge learning experience for all.

We’ve all been there. You’re waiting to hear back about a great opportunity, such as an internship, a job, or an engaging role on your campus ...and you don’t get what you’ve been hoping for. When we are faced with rejection, it can be easy to assume it’s because of us. Maybe you’d think, “What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t I get it?”

Being confronted by rejection may be one of the hardest things to face in college.

You enter into the world of your campus believing that all of these amazing possibilities exist, but then you discover that you aren’t going to get the chance to participate in these opportunities. Getting a letter or an email not knowing whether you have been accepted or rejected can seem daunting. Something as small as one email could seemingly ruin your whole day.

Although rejection can definitely be tough to face, it doesn’t determine the value or worth that you have as a student, a child, an employee, or a member of the community. It could simply mean that the other contestants have better credentials or seemed to fit more into the role, but rejection does not result because of who you are as a person.

I have had my fair share of rejection emails, especially in college. I check my email again and again, and I am constantly refreshing the page because of one email. This waiting seems to have consumed all of my time for a short bit. When that email FINALLY comes, I can be excited to open it, only to have this excitement crushed by the rejection that I have just been faced with.

When this happens, it can seem easy to be upset, and maybe even to cry. Letting out your emotions and allowing yourself to feel is an important part of the human experience that can often be looked over because we always want to “keep our cool.” To this, I say that you’re allowed to be upset. You’re allowed to feel crushed or heartbroken.You’re allowed to be human.

When the initial feelings have passed, think about what has just happened to you. You may have just gotten rejected from only one of the opportunities that exist…when there’s so many more! You are more than just a rejection letter; don’t let one answer bring you down for good. Keep applying, and keep getting your name out there!

Being rejected doesn’t always have to solely be a negative experience; it can also be one where people are able to learn and further their personal growth. When you are rejected, you do not lose value. You are still worthy of all that is good, and you are allowed to feel as a result of your experience.

Rejection does not equal your value.

You may be disappointed at the moment, but there are good things in store for you in the future. Don't ever give up on yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Education Reform Is, And Has Always Been, About Money, Not Learning

Education should not be a competition; the children of America should all receive an excellent education, with no losers.

You hear it all the time: The American school system is failing! We can’t compete on a global scale! What if I told you that this was a lie that was intended to privatize the American school system to financially benefit those making the laws? Through this false narrative of failure, federal education reformists have lined their pockets to the detriment of the schools who need the money the most.

First, we must tackle the idea that education reform like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top set schools up to look like failures. The goal of No Child Left Behind was to have 100% of students achieve proficiency in math and reading by 2014. This is an admirable goal, but it was setting schools up for failure – it is simply impossible for 100% of students to be proficient.

Between students who are developmentally delayed, ESOL students, and students who just don’t care to learn, the goal of 100% proficiency was impossible. And it was designed to be because if people thought that schools were doing well they would never approve of a plan that funneled public funds into the private sector. Having a “failing school system” instilled a panic in the American public that their children are attending schools that are not educating them. This is the kind of panic that makes people act without scrutinizing the solutions.

How do we know our schools aren’t failing? According to The National Assessment of Educational Progress (the only consistent measure of education that we have in the United States), both reading and mathematics scores have improved steadily and significantly since 1992. We know that this is most likely not due to No Child Left Behind because the steepest increase (greatest improvement each year) happened before its implementation.

Likewise, the number of students who score below basic is decreasing, and the number of students who score proficient or advanced is increasing.

But what about on a global scale? Ever since the launch of Sputnik, the American people have come to fear inferiority in terms of global achievement. The good news is that American schools are doing better than the international average! According to the results of the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), the average score for students on the math section placed the United States in the top 25 countries, and in the top 24 for science.

So what do lawmakers have to gain? Take into consideration the director of Race to the Top competition, Joanne Weiss. Before she was the director of the competition, she was the Chief Operating Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund, an organization that gives money to “education entrepreneurs” (read: people who make money off of students and schools).

Next, according to Joanne Race to the Top was meant to increase economic activity and encourage the creation of markets for profit and non-profit organizations. She openly wrote that the so-called “education reform” was intended to stimulate the private sector, but people still believed that this was the best solution for fixing (an unbroken) education system.

So, what’s the problem? The biggest problem is that nobody did any studies on how Race to the Top or No Child Left Behind would affect the quality of education in the United States. We as a country subjected our children to these untested programs in response to our fear that we were failing them. We left our children in the hands of companies that only care about their bottom lines.

Additionally, the method of forcing “underperforming” schools to compete by reducing their funding is creating a problem. The schools most likely to underperform are schools in low socioeconomic status neighborhoods – schools that already don’t have money due to the way that public schools are funded. Some of these schools do not have the money for licensed teachers, computers, pencils, or other necessities. Taking away the funding to encourage them to “compete” cripples them further, and in some cases, schools are even closed for underperforming!

The school voucher system is also problematic, especially if vouchers are usable at for-profit charter schools. The idea of vouchers is enticing, parents being able to use the money that the state is already paying to educate their child at a school of their choosing.

But here’s the problem: parents with the resources to drive their children to a better school outside will take these vouchers to “better” (generally wealthier) schools and away from the schools that need them. And the parents who do not have these resources (generally poorer) are stuck with their children in schools that had funding issues, to begin with.

For-profit charter and private schools are not all bad, but the fact that a corporation can make profits off of the money that the government sets aside for educating children is a little weird, especially when you consider that charter schools are not often regulated or held to the same standards as public schools. Another thing to consider is that some of the vouchers are being used at private religious schools, which blurs the line between separation of church and state.

The recent changes to our education system that began under the false pretenses of a failing public school system have been an underhanded way to stimulate the economy and privatize our schools. And these movements are not headed by educators, but by businesses who know nothing about how their programs affect student accomplishment. Race to the Top and No Child Left behind have morphed education into a competition. And the driving force of education should not be competition – the children of America should all receive an excellent education, with no losers.

Cover Image Credit: NeONBRAND

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