Even though I'd had my whole senior year of high school — or even the years before that — to decide what I wanted to major in, I nonetheless had NO idea. The thought of deciding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life as an 18-year-old high schooler was daunting. I'd only looked at one college, which is where I'm attending now. Encouraged by my parents — and common sense — I also looked at a community college that was in my hometown. I could go there for two years, possibly get an associate of arts, and transfer to the university to get my BA.

Obviously, the typical path is to go immediately to a four-year institution and get a bachelor's. This is what my friends, and virtually everyone else in my class, were doing.

After a lot of thought, I ultimately decided to start at the local community college. I would still be living at home and working the same job I'd had all throughout high school; the only thing that would change is that I'd have to drive a few miles further for school. I learned so much in the two years I was there, in the classroom, about college life, and about myself. While it maybe wasn't the total "college experience" that my peers were getting, it was an experience nonetheless.

By the time those two years were over and I graduated, I was ready to move away to college and experience something else. It ended up being one of the best decisions I've ever made; I've had amazing experiences here, gotten to know myself more, and met some of my best friends. I know that if I had come here right away, my time here would not at all be the same. So, I'm grateful that I've had the experiences that I've had and met my friends when I did.

Having attended two different colleges, I often compare the two schools in my mind to decide which place was "better" for me in different respects. Though I would say that I've loved my experience at the university more than community college, I can't dismiss my time at the community college as worthless.

Community college ended up being really good for me. As an introvert, it was nice to have the smaller classes and it helped me get out of my shell. Taking various literature classes helped me realize that, as I'd suspected before, I really wanted to major in English, yet another decision I don't regret. I also learned other skills that have been meaningful, like the best places to study (anywhere that's quiet and has a table), how to drive on country roads in the winter (very slowly), and what kind of math and science classes an English major would be best at (none of them).

While I love my university and I'm so glad I transferred here, I know that I wouldn't appreciate it as much without my community college experience too. As fond as I am about those first two years, I can't say I miss it. It helped me prepare for my time at college, and maybe even more, and I'm certainly thankful for that.