Yodelayheehoo! If you’re going to a community college this year, this blog post is for you.
I attended Kilgore College (a junior college near my hometown) my freshman year. And basically the very last thing my 18-year-old self wanted to do was live at home for the 19th year in a row. I mean…this was college for Pete’s sake! I WANTED TO BE FREE.
Everybody in this neck of the woods literally refers to Kilgore as Harvard on the Highway or the 13th grade. Which is actually really funny if you think about it…until you find out that’s where you’ll be going, L O L (don’t worry, my mindset changes).
It obviously didn’t help that EVERYBODY AND THEIR MOM was going off to a university.
GOOD *clap* FOR *clap* YOU *clap*
I remember feeling FRUSTRATED TO THE MAX and embarrassed to admit I was going to a community college. I felt less than and humiliated, simply because society told me I was supposed to feel that way.
Society had made me feel as if I failed because I was attending a community college…as if attending a junior college defined my intelligence and ability to succeed in life.
I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.
Going to a community college was the best thing that could’ve happened to me (thanks, Mom and Dad). Not only did it smooth my transition into college and help me save money (because student loans are a real thing), it gave me the opportunity to get my grades up and prove to myself I was capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.
I goofed off in high school. As a result, (some) people would belittle my intelligence and abilities because I wasn’t in the top 10% or NHS (bless). Honestly, whatever. I had fun in high school and have absolutely no regrets.
Long story short, I worked hard in college and got the grades I needed to transfer to my dream college (GIG ‘EM!).
Going to a community college doesn’t make you any less of a human being. It doesn’t mean you’re less intelligent or incapable of achieving success. And you’re definitely not a failure just because you lived at home for an extra year or two before going off to a university (big whoop).
There’s not a single thing to be embarrassed of.
My only regret is having believed the lies I was told about going to a community college before experiencing it myself.
I would not trade going to a community college for the world.
So, for those of you who are going to a community college, I thought I’d put together a list and encourage you to make the most of this next year (or two).
I want you to know I’ve been in your shoes and have felt all those things you’re feeling right now. You’re most certainly not alone in thinking or feeling this way!
Here is my advice for those of you who are going to a community college:
1. Stay on campus between classes.
I know it’s tempting to drive home and spend those few hours between classes in your room (probably watching Netflix), but don’t do it. Find SOMETHING to do. Go hang out at the Baptist Student Ministry or the Wesley Foundation, meet up with some friends for lunch, get a study group together, sit outside in the courtyard. Go to the library or the student center! Do your homework. Read a book. Play racquetball!
Staying on campus will save you a LOT of money on gas.
Plus, it will give you an opportunity to get your homework out of the way. It’s a win-win situation!
But seriously…if you choose to go home between classes, I am 100% positive you’ll miss out. You won’t enjoy your time there simply because you’re not making the most of your time there. This goes especially for those of you who are commuting! Staying on campus gives you a chance to have (somewhat) of a (normal) college experience.
2. Get involved.
Find ways to get involved. Even if it’s something simple like playing ping-pong in the Tri-C every Tuesday/Thursday. Sure, there may not be as many opportunities to get involved at a community college as there are at universities, but that doesn’t mean opportunities are nonexistent.
You don’t necessarily have to join an organization…just get involved and interact with your classmates and peers in some way. Meet up on campus and form study groups! Explore all 12 buildings (L O L) on campus. Go watch the sports teams!
Whatever you do, find some way to get involved so you have something to look forward to. Feeling like you’re part of something makes all the difference in the world.
SIDE NOTE: I wish I had gone to the athletic events and had more school pride! I think I went to one pep-rally and one football game? That’s my only regret.
3. Take advantage of the the on-campus gym/REC.
Some of my favorite memories during my time at KC were spent playing pick-up basketball games at the REC. I was usually the only girl playing but I honestly didn’t care. I was doing what I loved with people who had a mutual interest.
Also, doing this helped me gain confidence and made it easier for me to get involved with intramurals and pick-up games whenever I transferred to Texas A&M.
You will miss having that FREE GYM MEMBERSHIP when you graduate college. TRUST ME.
SIDE NOTE: There are a LOT more kinesiology courses to choose from at a university. If you know you’ll be transferring, I would recommend waiting so you can take a class you won’t have the opportunity to take anywhere else. Although I’m thankful I took Zumba at KC (because I met very precious people and made a kickin’ Zumba dance to It’s Raining Men), I wish I had the opportunity to take sailing or archery or another hilarious kinesiology class at Texas A&M! So, put off your kinesiology classes if you can.
4. Work hard.
Do not blow community college off. Believe it or not, you CAN flunk out of a junior college. It happens all the time.
Although I goofed off in high school, I knew I couldn’t do that in college. My goal was to be at Texas A&M my sophomore year, so I made sure to attend every class and I worked hard to make good grades. And, I did (it’s amazing what a little hard work and dedication can do)!
Yes, it might be a “community college” but you’re not in high school anymore. You can’t get away with not doing your homework or not turning in a paper or never going to class.
Develop this habit now so you can easily implement it in other areas of your life later.
IMPORTANT: You CAN go to a university after going to a community college. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. My grades weren’t outstanding in high school. I did enough to get by so I could play basketball and be in the band and that was it. Grades just weren’t important to me (being social was, hahaha). However, your grades should be important to you in college, especially at a community college. I know for a fact there are students who attend community college thinking that’s where it ends. It doesn’t have to end there if you don’t want it to. Your high school grades don’t determine whether you are able to go to a university after going to a community college. If you want to go to a university, you can. Just work hard and get the grades you need in order to transfer.
5. Find out what classes you need to transfer BEFORE you sign up for them.
I almost missed out on being able to transfer as a sophomore because I (almost) didn’t take the mandatory classes! Thankfully, someone who had been in my shoes encouraged me to sit down with a counselor at Texas A&M and talk with them about the classes I needed to take at Kilgore.
Sometimes the basics suggested for a community college are different than the basics needed for a university. If you already have a university and major in mind, make an appointment with an adviser there. Find out what classes you need to take in order to transfer and then adjust your schedule accordingly.
6. Bloom where you are planted!
Life’s what you make it and so is community college. Therefore, if you do the bare minimum, you will be miserable and negative and grouchy and ungrateful. However, if you’re willing to give extra effort, you will realize how much of a blessing going to a community college really is!
Be open to growing and learning about yourself. Don’t let the opinions of other people keep you from exploring your options and making the most of your time. Take advantage of the opportunities made available to you, no matter how big or small they may seem. Bloom where you are planted and set the foundation for how you want to live the rest of your life.
Going to a community college is not the end of the world. It’s just a stepping stone to help you get wherever it is you’re going.
In closing, I’d like to add that I met one of my very good friends at Kilgore and he’s the reason I launched my website. He introduced me to a book that literally changed my life and set the pace for the path I’m walking as a motivational speaker and blogger (besides the Bible, L O L). I literally would not be where I am today had it not been for him and I’m forever grateful to have been grouped with him in Mrs. Wilder’s English class!
Please don’t ever think God cannot or is not working in your location.
Stay on campus between classes, get involved, take advantage of the on-campus gym, work hard, find out what classes you need to transfer, and bloom where you’re planted!
Who knows…going to a community college may be the best thing to ever happen to you!
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