I started my college career at East Carolina University. When I first arrived, I thought it was going to be amazing; and it was, for a while. I am from a small town, so I chose ECU to get away (and for football). As time went on, my grades declined. I think that it was a combination of homesickness, work stress, and being in such huge classes. ECU has almost 29,000 students, and I came from a graduating class of 214 people. It is a huge adjustment going from 25 people per class to 250-300 people per class. I was trying to make good grades along with the weight of learning how to pay for my car payment/insurance, gas, groceries, my cat and his needs, etc. The thing was, it just wasn't working.

I hate admitting when I've failed, it makes me feel disappointed in myself because I feel like I've disappointed those around me. But by accepting my losses at ECU, I learned that they're not really losses. I learned that sometimes the choices you make, like what school you go to, just aren't right for you- and that's okay. My sophomore year, I continued to struggle, so I made the tough decision to come back to Raleigh. I left my sorority sisters, roommates, and ECU behind and came back home. I am living at home this year, taking classes at Wake Tech, and I will be attending Meredith College in the fall. Do I wish that I were further ahead? Absolutely. But, nothing is wrong with slowing down as long as you don't stop. The most important thing you can do is move forward, no matter the pace.

Yeah, I won't graduate in four years. So what. It's better to graduate a semester or a year later than to go another year at an institution I can't handle and ruin my chances of receiving a quality education/degree forever. Don't get me wrong, East Carolina is a wonderful school with tons of opportunity. It just wasn't an opportunity that worked for me, and that is okay.

Even though I've had to come back from my shortcomings, I'm still so happy I went to ECU for the two years that I did. It allowed me to test the waters and see where my limits are, it showed me that being away from your hometown isn't always the best thing for you, and even more, it showed me that it's okay to lose your way. It's okay to fall off the wagon, or slow down on your way up the mountain that is college. You can change paths, or take a short cut (long cut, in my case) but just never stop. Everyone's situation is different, and I was so self-conscious to tell people that I was transferring and that I was at a community college. Truth is, there's nothing to be ashamed of! I'm making better grades now that I'm surrounding by my family, long-time friends, and boyfriend. My backbone is here at home, and I'm glad that I transferred back to Raleigh to feel whole again and to finally feel like myself.