University Life

My community college experience

Community college was one of the best decisions I made in my life! In high school, I always told myself I wasn’t going to go to community college. I thought community college was for those who couldn’t get into an actual university. I thought it was beneath me, the truth is I didn’t want to stay in my hometown. After realizing I couldn’t afford to attend a university because of costs, I decided community college is better than no college. Sure my mom and step father stressed to me how important an education is, but they never really supported me with my education. They didn’t help me pay for it, nor did they understand anything I was going through so I didn’t receive much support. I’m essentially a first generation college student because although my father is a college graduate he was never in my life to help me with any of it.

Community college is a great place to transition into college without suffering from the payments. You get the same education only cheaper and closer to home, with much more support. I had close friends and I got to be with my brothers which didn’t mean much at the time, but now I truly cherish the time we had together.

The classes are cheaper, smaller and easier to grasp compared to a class at UC Davis when there’s 90 other students in your class that you’re competing with. The student to teacher ratio is awesome! You are always heard in the classroom and there is always time to talk to the professor after class compared to some classes in a university where professors leave almost immediately and have you ask the TA if you need help. Attending office hours isn’t a mission like it can be at large universities where if students are struggling you have to fight to see your professor not even to speak with your professor, but to literally SEE them! Believe me, I have experienced this first hand. Classes at community colleges allow you to work on the side and during summer to save for when you transfer out of the university. I’m not saying other universities don’t allow the same thing, but you save substantially with your cost at community college alone compared to an actual university. Plus by attending and graduating from a community college, you earn a degree your Associates or Associates Transfer Degree like myself which is pretty awesome because how many people do you know have both?? Honestly. Sure, in today’s economy you need a bachelor’s degree for the most part but that does not take away from any work you put towards earning your first degree an associates!

I learned how to manage my workload, how to use my financial aid and most importantly how to utilize what I was given. Not everyone was in the EOP program, with that program I had priority registration, had an awesome advisor that I saw 3 times a semester, money for books and money for food and free school supplies which was incredibly vital to me!  You can learn more about the EOP program here. The most important thing I received was the support because the support helped me realize that I could graduate and gain a degree even when sometimes I felt like I wouldn’t because of my struggles. Even though I had always intended to graduate from community college and transfer to a university, hearing some praise every now and then was incredibly meaningful to me. I always maintained a high GPA and retook classes when needed.

I graduated with honors and I received my Associates Transfer Degree in Business Administration.

Before attending community college, I wanted to attend a large university in a city and get lost in it. I wanted to major in business and attend a school with a well known business program. Cost was important but so was distance. I wanted to get away from my gambling parents which if you haven’t read about you can read about here. I thought by going back to the city, I would find myself and where I belonged. I wanted to live in the dorms and live out my whole college dream. I wanted the whole college experience no matter the cost.

By attending community college, it also taught me what I actually want in a university. I learned that I wanted to attend a small school so I wouldn’t have to worry about the traveling distance from class to class. I wanted to be able to get around campus easy and not get lost often. Another reason I desired a small university was so I could have a lot more one on one time with the professor if I were to ever have trouble in the class. I wanted the university to be affordable. While attending community college, towards the end when I was applying to schools to transfer to I thought it doesn’t matter how good the school is as long as it offers you what you need and you earn your bachelor’s degree.

High school seniors get so caught up on where to attend for the wrong reasons. My advice to you is to go with your gut and attend the school that has the most benefits that you desire. Do NOT attend a school because of your friends or family’s input or because of how good the school is. Attend the school you truly desire to attend. Another thing to consider is distance, although most teenagers plan on getting away from their family which I completely understand make your decision wisely because you’ll still want to come home for holidays. Besides that to see your friends from your hometown. Don’t pick a school that’s too far from home, because you’ll literally PAY for it later when you have to visit during the holidays.

Fortunately for me, I was strong enough to push myself to get to where I am today which is near my last semester and so close to obtaining my bachelors degree. Thankfully, I was also accepted into the Equal Opportunity Program which gave me a tremendous amount of support when I needed it the most. The program’s advisors often encouraged me and helped me with everything from picking classes, being my recommendations for my scholarship applications and praising me for my hard work which I hardly ever heard. If it weren’t for my professors and advisors I don’t think I would have been as successful. Nor would my mental health been as good as it was compared to what it could have been without the constant support. College is hard enough as it is and without any guidance along the way it’s even more difficult to go through alone! I took advantage of everything I was offered from going to free seminars, free tutoring and utilizing my time to earn a high GPA. I always knew I was going to go to college because I wanted to find my destined future and I know I am so close.

I hoped this help you learn more about community colleges. If you have any questions feel free to ask!!!

2 Comments

  • Abina George

    This is such a great post about community colleges. My parents didn’t want be to go to one but I went one summer and it was awesome! It’s a great place to start and offers valuable classes. I’m glad you got to experience it and I’m happy you enjoyed it 😊

    • DeannaSStilwell

      Thank you! I’m glad you had a great experience too! 😊 I had the best time and knew I was meant to be there during my second semester!

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