Welcome to the first post in the College Struggles Series. Today we’ll dive into the importance of choosing the school that’s right for YOU and knowing that you can do it!
I have always loved to learn, write and read; naturally this made me a lover of school. Growing up, I thought that college was what you did after high school, just like moving up grades. I did not know there were alternate options- It’s what everyone did right?
So when I was in my senior year of high school, I took a trip to a college that caught my attention with my Mom, sister and an old friend. I fell in love and decided to apply there, along with a local state university that many people in my high school would be attending. The latter was not desirable and did not cause excitement, which is common for practical options.
I ended up being accepted to both schools and was excited to think of the possibilities of attending my new dream school. But it was far away and more expensive and it felt impossible. I was the first person in my family to go to college, which meant I had to navigate everything on my own. I did not know that there are resources out there that could make my dream school a reality. Instead I had my Dad, who has always been very strict, making it clear that this other school was not even an option. This caused my 17 year old self to feel that it truly was unattainable and to feel that I did not have funds to go away. People like me didn’t get to venture off for school, that’s what kids with trust funds did (Or so I thought).
So I attended the local college and found myself to be unhappy. I felt that I did not fit in and being a shy, introverted person I did not make friends. Instead I clung to the old friends I had made in high school. I would convince them to attend classes with me or we would make plans to go on a fun adventure.
(Mountains were our favorite places to explore.)
I was lost when it came to school, so I found comfort making memories outside of its walls and worked my butt off at my job.
Naturally, I ended up failing quite a few classes until I was put on academic probation. I knew I would not be able to afford to pay for school out of pocket and I panicked. This led me to drop out after my first year.
Seven years later, I look back at this period of my life and wish that I had been more knowledgeable about the resources available to college students. My experience may have been entirely different, had I gone to my dream school rather than stick with what I felt was my only option. But this doesn’t have to be you! Follow these tips to help you in your college quest.
- Research. If you do not have a dream school (like I originally didn’t), start googling different schools and reading up on majors, average class size, national rating, etc. This should help you choose a few that are right for you.
- Tour it up! Visit your dream school and as many other schools as you possibly can. Take advantage of school trips to local colleges. You can also contact schools and arrange for a personal tour. There may be things you end up disliking about one school, or loving about a school you never thought you’d like to attend.
- Utilize counselors. Visit your academic counselor/advisor at your high school (or college) frequently. Ask them questions about resources available to you. Talk to them about ideas for your major, schools you’re considering attending, etc. They are a free source of knowledge and may help make this transition smoother for you.
- Apply for scholarships. There are so many scholarships available for people of all ages/grades and some of them are as easy as filling out your name and e-mail! This a great way to be able to afford your dream school.
- Embrace change. Part of the reason why I did not enjoy college was because I was holding on to an old part of my life that had brought me so much joy. I did not want new friends, I wanted the same gang I already had. Now, I no longer have those friendships and I know that I should have put more effort into my new adventure, even if it wasn’t at the school I really wanted to be at. Do not look back to what you are leaving behind, look forward to the amazing possibilities that are ahead.
- Believe in yourself. There will always be someone in your life who attempts to turn you away from what you really want or who will make you feel as if it will never happen for you. Ignore them and believe in you and your abilities. Even if it does not seem like there is a chance that what you want can happen, do EVERYTHING in your power to make it happen.
Tune in next week for another addition of the College Struggles Series!
Stay Tuned & Stay Motivated ❤