Monday, January 11, 2016

College Journey #8: When College Isn't Right for You

This was originally going to be a very different post.  I was going to talk about Winter Break and how it went on how adjusting back afterwards wasn't nearly as hard as I thought.  But, well, I decided to talk about something else.  And this something else is going to have a lot of personal feelings in it and it's taken a bit of a toll on my mental health.  Basically, I'm not doing great with it, but I wanted to share somewhere and I also think it's important for people who are considering college to take into consideration.  Anyway, here we go:

So, I talked a little about this in my wrap up, but two days ago, Saturday, my roommate left.  She was having a hard time being away from home (she's from California and the school is in Illinois- so quite the distance) and classes were more stressful than she had thought.  So, she decided to transfer out a week into the term.  I'm glad for her because it's what she needs to be healthy and happy, and we plan to stay in contact.  But I'm also incredibly sad because our friend group will never be in the same spot at the same time again, and I won't have that friend here all the time.  It's really strange when you live with someone for several months, get used to each others patterns, and then suddenly, your halfway across the country from them.  So that's my head space.

And it has me thinking.  College isn't for everyone.  I mean, I've known this for a while, but I've never gotten a front row seat to see how it really is a bad decision for some people.  If you're so worried about the idea of it that you're making yourself sick, here are some things to consider:

You can take a gap year.
I have a neighbor who did this.  He got a job, worked for a year, and then went to school.  And he's pretty happy with that decision.  My roommate agrees this was probably the path she should have taken.  In college, age doesn't matter so much as it does in high school.  A lot of things don't matter so much in college as they did in high school.  Taking a gap year really won't hurt your reputation (if that's what you're worried about) and will actually probably prepare you a bit better in some cases.  I know schools don't really encourage this, which is a shame.  My school was adamant against it, and I'm not sure why.  I get that I went to a college prep high school, but still.  The downfall: I considered taking a gap year, but I'm glad I didn't go through with it because I'm one of those people who has to work hard to try new things.  If I hadn't gone to college when all my friends went off I probably wouldn't go to college at all and stayed home.  So, if this is a fear, definitely don't take a gap year.  In the end, you know yourself better than anyone else, so make the decision for yourself.

Community College
Community college is something I think is looked down on and I'm not sure why.  My mom went to community college, several of my friends go to community college, and I have cousins who go as well.  Some are really, really good, too!  Like, they're practically universities in some cases!  You don't even have to go for all four years, either.  Go for the first year, or the first two, and get your feet wet with the idea of college.  Take classes you're interested in and classes that will get your Gen Eds out of the way.  See how stressful college is and get used to the idea of higher education.  Plus, community college is a much cheaper option.

Tour the potential schools.
If you think you're going to go live at a school for more than half a year you have to remember that this place will be your home and that even in the "adult world" you never buy a house before touring it (I mean, at least, I've never heard of anyone not doing that...).  You need to see if you'll be comfortable here.  And go during the school season, so you can see how busy it gets and how friendly other students are.  And going during a warmer month so that you can walk around the town, on foot. On foot!  Don't just drive through, because then you won't get a real sense of the size of a town.  This is super important, and if you're not happy with the town, take this into account when picking a school.  You want to make sure you're happy where you are, because you will be living there!

So that's all I've got to say on this topic.  I really miss my roommate already, and falling asleep and waking up alone is strange to say the least.  But I'm glad she's made the decision that will be best for her.

I hope this post is helpful to people thinking about college!  If you have any questions or comments, let me know down below.


  1. Finding the right college is definitely hard! Another piece of advice I would have is to go to a liberal arts school, you can study whatever you want :)

    Also, I was bored so spontaneously created a tag! I tagged you in it! :) Enjoy!

    1. Haha, yes for Liberal Arts Colleges ( I attend one)!

      Thanks so much for tagging me, I'm excited to do it!

  2. That's too bad about your roommate, but like you said college isn't for everyone.

    When you mention your school being adamantly against a gap year, for some reason that reminded me of my high school guidance council. She was a really crappy guidance councilor - never there when you needed her for anything. She would regularly say things to us like, "You probably won't go to college..." and just let it hang from there.

    1. Wow that's crazy! No, it wasn't quite that bad. It was more of a "If you don't go to college you'll fail at life no exceptions and we expect donations when you've got high paying jobs thanks to your college tuitions" kinda thing.

    2. Oh wow! That's upsetting. Ours would regularly tell the entire class...and we would rarely have college visits at school. If we needed anything, we knew to go to her secretary. No idea how the guidance counselor kept her job for as long as she did.


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