Okay, okay. It didn’t entirely suck. But it wasn’t the traditional college experience.
Unlike a lot of my classmates, I didn’t move away to college. I didn’t live on campus, or even in an apartment nearby. I didn’t join a sorority or an activist group. I’ve never done a keg stand or handed out flyers for an event. I basically missed out on a lot of the cool stuff. Here’s what I did get to do:
1. I got to avoid thousands of dollars in student debt. I know, I know. What’s cool about that? No one owns me, that’s what. Granted, I have some credit card debt, and a car note. But nothing compared to the average student loan debt, which reached an all-time high of $30,000 in 2013. Yikes.
2. I got to graduate early. My mom was constantly on my ass about my classes. Btw, thanks mom, if you’re reading this. She was always like, “Why don’t you take a maymester at community college?” and “Why don’t you take a few summer classes to get ahead?” in a really nagging voice. I hated it. But now I’m SO GLAD she did it. I graduated a year early. Sure, I had to take some classes at a community college, and maybe that’s not cool to you. But I’d choose a $100 course over a $1,000 course any day.
3. I got to work two jobs. Seriously. It sucked so bad. I was a full-time student and, most weeks, a full-time employee. From waitressing to substituting to being a receptionist, I did it all. The upside is that employers are more likely to hire college grads who worked during school. I read that somewhere, don’t quote me. Anyway, I used that to my advantage in every interview I had post college graduation, and there were quite a few. Employers were always slightly impressed when I told them I worked two jobs while in school. It made me look determined.
So, yeah. I’m 21 and I’ve never been to a frat party or done a keg stand. I didn’t get to be on the NTDaily like I wanted. But I got a few stories published, thanks to some helpful professors of mine. Anyway, that’s not the point. Like I mentioned earlier in my post, I was a substitute teacher. I also interned at a high school my last semester at UNT. And you know what I heard that absolutely made me cringe?
“I’d rather drop out than go to X community college.”
“I’m just gonna get some loans so I can go to X university right after I graduate”
We’ve gotta stop giving universities all of our money. Stop digging yourself into these huge holes of student debt and start making sacrifices. Who cares if you go to community college for two years and then transfer? Your diploma says where you graduated from. That’s it. I don’t regret a thing.