If you had asked me my senior year of high school where I’d be today, I would have told you I was a student at a school in a state I’ve never actually been to. I was so fixated on the idea of leaving my hometown that I never actually considered the fact that maybe I wasn’t ready to leave it.
Pretty much everyone I’ve known has gone through a phase where they hate the town they come from, yet the majority of those people either left and came back or never left at all. I was one of them, and I didn’t leave. Thinking back on it, if I had left there was a 99 percent chance that I would’ve wound up back in a community college where I am today.
I wasn’t ready to leave, as a lot of people aren’t, but rather than going and wasting time and money to come back, I just stayed. Now I’m getting the chance to head off to a four-year university with my head on straight and my goals aligned.
In the two years I’ve spent in community college, I have gotten the opportunity to save money, play the field of schools to visit to see where I could envision myself living, and get to know myself enough to change what would have prohibited me from excelling at a university. My grades were below average heading into college, but once I didn’t have any distractions, I understood the consequences and severity of school and gave myself the motivation to succeed.
A lot of people my age are under the impression that when you go to a community college you miss out on “the college experience”, which really just means you’re missing out on the partying and the late night adventures with friends who live across the hall or down the street. I still had that, but it was on the weekends when I had all of my work done and could afford to let loose. Sure, I don’t have nearly as many stories or memories as those friends who did go away, but I have enough for now. Give it a month and I’ll have dozens more to look back on. That’s one thing you miss out on in community college: the friendships. Everyone drives to school, goes to class, sits in their lecture or lab, and gets back in their car to drive home. I could maybe tell you 10 names of people that I’ve actually become friendly with because other than that no one else really wanted any part in making friends. Once the 15-week semester was over the likeliness of you seeing that person again was slim to none.
For people like me, that was okay for the most part though because it gave me the opportunity to really take my schoolwork seriously to better prepare for heading into a 4-year university. And I did get into the school I wanted to, Rowan University, and unlike a lot of transfers because I spent so much time visiting my friends I got the opportunity to not go in as blind as some people do. I know people, I know places to hang out, I know that the downstairs cafeteria is preferred over the upstairs, that the walls in Robo are paper thin, fire alarms in the freshman dorms go off at least 27 times a semester, and a lot more that I would have never known had I not visited.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on myself in community college and my grades, and I was scared to head to Rowan in the Fall, but as move-in day gets closer I can’t help but get more and more excited to see what the school has to offer me.
The change was and is something I’m never totally sure I’ll be okay with, but it is inevitable and will exist unless the world ceases to exist. This is one change, however, I am learning to be okay with.
Rowan is full of people that are down to be friendly and have a good time. The classes are small enough that your professors actually get to learn about you while you learn from them. There’s a lot to do close by, and if I miss home, luckily it’s not too much of a hike to get there.
I’m excited to live in the newest housing Holly Pointe, to get to be the first residents and learn the pros and cons of the building, excited to meet new people and experience new things, but I wasn’t always that way.
Moving on is scary and sometimes people don’t like to let go of what’s comfortable to them, and lately, I’ve been trying very hard to leave my comfort zone because you can only have so much fun in it. There will come a day where you just get tired of the same old routine, and I’ve gotten there.
Now I get to experience another world from which I don’t know where I belong in it quite yet, but it’s all about giving the chance to try new things while succeeding in furthering my education, and I couldn’t be more proud of doing so at Rowan.