When you start applying to colleges, you get a certain picture in your head about how college is going to be. You picture yourself being happy, meeting new friends and having an overall amazing experience. I found myself picturing these things my senior year of high school when I started getting my acceptance letters in the mail. I started to envision a life-changing experience that I was about to have. When I was deciding where I would start my college journey, I was very indecisive. I could not decide if I wanted to go away to a big school or small school and if I wanted to stay close to home or not. I ended up going to a local community college at home for my first year of college. My initial plan was to go there for two years and then to transfer to a four-year university.
Even though I planned on going to a community college, I still had a certain vision of how my college experience would be. A beautiful campus filled with excited students laughing with each other while walking to class. I thought that my peers would really care about their education and want to be at college. My professors would be helpful and caring of their students. Class would be a fun and challenging time. I would get involved in a lot of extracurricular activities and make lifelong friends. I was excited to be challenged in school and really get into subjects that I was going to use for the rest of my life. My college experience was going to be an experience I never was going to forget and I was so excited!
Unfortunately, this is not how my experience went my first year of community college. I went in with an extremely positive attitude and the determination to make my college dream happen. My dreams came crashing down pretty quickly.
The campus was dull and you really did not see students anywhere. Most students looked miserable and eager to leave. All my peers around me talked about how the school was a joke and they had no motivation to be there. The students made it evident that they did not care about their grades and it impacted the way the professors taught their classes also. One week I missed a class and handed in all my work due that day on time just like any normal students would do. My professor was so shocked that I had done all the reading on my own in order to do the assignment. He talked about how rarely students did what I did and even showed that they cared at all. This is when reality struck, and it struck hard. I was not being challenged in my classes and most of my professors did not care about their classes. When it came to making friends, every single one of my peers was too focused on getting out of class and leaving that I rarely had an opportunity to make true, genuine friends.
Once reality hit me, I realized how miserable I was at my school. When you realize how your vision of college is the exact opposite of what you are experiencing day to day, it is really devastating. As I sat at home with virtually no one, I got to see all of my best friends have the college experience I always dreamed of. The emotions I felt added up, and quick. I felt misery everyday when I had to go to school and I had be around constant negativity. I felt jealousy of my friends who were having the most amazing times of their lives. I was mad at myself for making the last minute decision to go to community college instead of taking a risk and going away. The one year that I went through this, I learned so much about myself and also endured a lot.
Despite how awful I felt, I was able to remain positive. I had a newfound motivation to get myself into my dream school. All I did was study to make sure I could get straight A's so that I could have to option of transferring into a prestigious, competitive college. I also became extremely close with one of my best friends who went to school close to home (shout out to Frank). I also got the chance to explore different majors and ended up finding my passion in life, education. I am thankful for this experience, but I am also glad that I am at my current school.
To anyone who is struggling with wanting to transfer, do not be afraid to go down this path. Sometimes the unexpected path brings you the most happiness. Transferring to my current school was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so much happier and I am truly getting the college experience that I originally dreamed of. Although transferring is definitely not a path many people think they will find themselves on in the future, it will lead you to your dream school where you do get to make lifelong friends, experiences and memories to last a lifetime.