You Aren’t A Failure If You Choose To Go To Community College First

You Aren’t A Failure If You Choose To Go To Community College First

In fact, you're really smart for doing so.

I grew up thinking I would spend all four years of my collegiate career at a major university. In fact, up until two years before I was supposed to go off to school, I thought I was going to go to a major university straight out of high school. Then, two weeks before the Christmas of my junior year, my dad lost his job.

When I got the news that my parents could no longer pay for college, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Financial responsibility was not on my radar. I thought that was something I could worry about after I graduated with a Bachelors degree, if not a Masters.

I started looking into other options for school. At first, I thought I was just going to have to take out student loans for the whole four years. I didn’t even think about whether or not that was fiscally responsible of me. My parents didn’t have the money to pay it all in chunk change anymore-I was just doing what every other kid in my generation was doing. Then I had a reality check one day when I did the math and saw how much I would have to pay each month if I did that. I started thinking that school was going to be impossible for me- because I didn’t want to live as a slave to school debt the rest of my life.

When community college was put on the table, I immediately rejected it. There was a certain stigma at my high school that surrounded the kids that went to community college after high school. It was seen as the option for kids that weren’t good enough students to get into university, or a place for “the lessers of society” (yes actual quote from a classmate of mine). I thought, “I would rather go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt before I ever step foot on a community college campus.” I thought this partially because of the stigma, and because I thought my academic standings were too superior to attend a community college.

But, that job loss did something to me. I stopped thinking of myself as an entitled upper-middle-class high school kid and came to the realization that my parent’s money is not my money. Shocking. I know. But that was a very big hurdle I had to leap over at the time.

So, after this enlightening moment of my life, I had to embrace the fact that I was broke. Completely broke. I didn’t have a cent in savings to put myself through school. Honestly, the more my parents and I discussed community college, the more and more it sounded like a no-brainer. Tuition with a $1,000 price tag to get all of my general education courses out of the way, compared to the average $6,000 price tag at a university. Free room and board for the first two years. Smaller class sizes so I could get to know my professors. And, in North Carolina, if you get an Associates Degree, all of your credits must transfer to the university you choose with you. All of the sudden I was looking at a maximum of $5,000 with books and tuition combined for the first two years of school, rather than the $20,000+ I would spend completing my GEDs at a four-year university.

After I made this decision, I started to discover just how shallow people can be if you do not meet societal expectations. At first, I hung my head when I told people I was going to community college. Like I said, it wasn’t a glamorous choice. All my classmates proudly wore the shirts of their four your university to Senior Day, and I wore a regular outfit. Teachers told me that I was making a huge mistake by going there. People insulted me with my choice of schools telling me, “Well, you get what you pay for.”

Now, I can stand here today, debt-free going into my last year of college, and tell you that if you are deciding to go to community college first, you will definitely get what you pay for. You will get financial freedom and flexibility. You will get one-on-one free tutoring with professors that know your name. You will get to work while you are going through those first two years to make the next two years more affordable. You will get the opportunity to figure out what the heck you want to do with your life before you are pressured into choosing something as a child and spending $20,000 on it before you realize, you really don’t want to do what high school you thought would make everyone happy with you.

Community college was the smartest decision I made. I am in a much better place in every aspect of my life today then I would have been if I decided to go to school for my desired career path in high school. I am so happy to have the flexibility to choose where I want to go and what I want to do after college because my wallet will not be tied town by SallieMae. So, thank you community colleges, for being the wonderful hidden treasure you are!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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12 Signs You're A Nursing Student

Other than the fact that you're constantly seen in scrubs.

Nursing school adventure. There is nothing quite as exciting or draining as going through the process of becoming a nurse. Some days you're helping to care for tiny babies, and then other days you're off doing wound care for pressure ulcers. Nursing school is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get.

There are some key signs in people that show when they're in nursing school. I know my friends and I definitely have these characteristics (whether we want them or not).

1. Your body has no concept of time. Night shift, day shift, there's no time for sleeping. There's no time for anything but studying and work. What day is it? You don't know unless there's an exam.

2. You're addicted to coffee because of the lack of the whole time concept. You can drink coffee and fall asleep right after finishing the cup. Does coffee even work anymore? Does it matter? Oh well, still going to drink the entire pot.

3. Nothing phases you. Poop? Vomit? Yeah, no. I have cleaned up a friend's vomit without even questioning it.

4. You freak out about exams like no other. What do you know? What do you not know? What is pharmacology and why does it hate you? Why doesn't your brain understand neurology? How do you study 10 lectures in one week? WHAT WILL BE ON THE EXAM, JUST TELL US, PLEASE.

5. You can talk about anything during a meal without getting grossed out. Except your non-nursing friends do get really grossed out. You have to filter your conversations when you're at lunch with them. All your friends say things to you like:

6. Your friends never see you. You're either hiding in your room studying, going crazy in clinicals, or working your life away. "Hey, want to hang out?" "Yeah, I'm free next month...actually, next year is better for me."

7. You have two forms: study hyper-drive super-human and half dead maybe-human. "Ahhhhhhhh, gotta study, gotta study! *stays up until 5 am studying*" versus "How am I still living? *passes out facefirst into bed*."

8. You have a very odd habit of complimenting people's veins.

9. You use therapeutic communication during regular daily life. But you don't ask why. "How does that make you feel?"

10. You spend a lot of time during lectures wondering if anyone else is as confused as you. Somebody explain endocrinology to me? Hemodynamic stability? Anyone?

11. You constantly ask yourself why you chose the major you chose, but you know you care too much to change majors. There's no turning back for you.

12. But most importantly, you understand that no matter how much school sucks, you're going to be making a major difference in so many lives. And that's what really matters.

Cover Image Credit: Elissa Lawson

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No, A Colored Student Did Not 'Steal Your Spot,' They Worked Hard To Get Here

I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"


Real talk, this whole "they're stealing our resources!" thing has to stop.

It ranges from welfare to acceptance letters into prestigious universities. People (and by people, I'm referring to those who identify as white) have made the assumption that they are having their opportunities stolen by people of color. That's ridiculous.

I love my university. I love the people at my university. However, when I sit in a classroom and look around at my colleagues, the majority of them are white. Of course, there are some classes that are filled with more people of color, but for the most part, they're predominantly white. So, let's say that out of a classroom of 30 students, only 7 identify as people of color.

In what world can somebody make the argument that those 7 students are stealing the spot of a white student? I don't think people realize how hard those 7 students had to work just to be in the same spot as their white counterparts.

Let me use my experience: I am a Latina woman who is attending university on a full-ride scholarship. I don't always tell people about this, because I don't feel like being asked, "wow, what did you do to get that?!" A lot. I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

First off, those "illegal immigrants" you're bashing, don't even qualify for financial aid. They don't qualify for most scholarships, actually. Second, have you considered that maybe, that "illegal immigrant" worked hard in and outside of school to earn their scholarship? I received my full-ride scholarship on the basis of my GPA, but also because I am a lower-class woman of color and was selected because I am disproportionately affected by poverty and access to a quality education.

So, this scholarship was literally created because there is an understanding that minorities don't have the same access to education as our white counterparts. It's not a handout though, I had to work hard to get the money that I have now. When white students get scholarships, it's not a handout but when you're Latina like me, apparently it is.

This way of viewing minorities and their education is damaging, and further discourages these people from receiving a quality education. We didn't steal anybody's spot, we had to work to get where we are, twice as hard as our white colleagues that are not discriminated against on a daily basis.

Instead of tearing down students of color because you didn't get a scholarship, why not criticize the American education system instead? It's not our fault tuition is $40k a year, and we have no reason to apologize for existing in a space that is predominantly white.

To students of color: you worked hard to get where you are, and I am proud of you. To white students: I'm proud of you too. We all worked hard to get to where we are now, let's lift each other up, not put each other down.

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