I first started college at the young age of 17, about 3 days after I finished High School. I did it because everyone told me I should, and lets be honest, I needed the Financial Aid. All through out high school, and even before I was told that College was the next step after high school, not matter what. I made it through high school by the skin of my teeth and started college before I was ready. A part of me wishes I wouldn’t have done that, another part of me knows I had to go through those struggles. I did a semester there and continued in Southern California when I moved in July of 2012.
I didn’t take college seriously, and as a regular 17-19 year old, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I dabbled in writing & criminal justice but nothing stuck. I hated going to class and I put work before school almost every time. At that point in my life making money came first, even at 17. I needed to pay rent, gas, and keep something in the fridge besides Coke and left overs from whatever restaurant I was working at. I used my financial aid money to fix my car, pay rent or put a deposit on an apartment. After 2 years of college I had about a 20% passing rate and found myself on Academic Probation. (That is where you are unable to receive financial aid and would have to pay out of pocket for classes.) After I moved to Tennessee I took a break from college, mostly because I was tired of failing. I spent 2 years of my life in college and it got me nowhere.
Then one day I knew I had to do something. That brings us to 2015:
Spring 2015. I had been out of school for a year and I was finally ready to go back. How did I know that? I was excited to get started and upset when I wasn’t able to enroll for Spring 2015. The good thing was that I wasn’t dreading it anymore. We took that spring to save up some money and get me enrolled come summer.
Summer 2015. It was here, my first class in a year and a half. It was a simple math class, I only took one class to make sure I could handle the workload and my full time job. At the end of the semester I received my first A in college class that wasn’t a photography class. I couldn’t believe I did it, I was exhausted, but I did it.
Fall 2015. My second semester to my new start of college. I took two in class classes. English and Music Business. It was twice as exhausting but I did it, I passed both with As. I felt invincible.
Spring 2016. My 3rd semester. After getting A’s for the last two semesters I thought something had changed, that I could get A’s no problem. So I took on 3 online classes. Boy was that a wake up call. I am not invincible, I can’t do everything at once. I ended up getting B’s in two of my classes and did not pass the third. This is still hard for me to swallow.
We calculated it and it turns out I would not graduate until I am 24. I was so angry, and felt defeated. I got very frustrated because I am smart, I kept thinking that maybe I just didn’t work hard enough. Maybe I could have stayed up later on week nights and got up earlier on weekends. That’s not true though, I worked my ass off. I worked hard for those grades, even if they weren’t A’s. I stayed up as late as I could to accommodate getting to work at 7:30 am. There were a lot of overly exhausted Monday mornings because I was up late making sure my Programming project worked perfectly, or that the mock websites I built was formatted perfectly. Most Friday & Saturday nights were spent with my textbooks & computer when It would have been much more fun to go out, or binge watch HGTV.
I still get down on myself, If I would have just gone to class when I was 17-19, If I would have juts tried harder I would either be graduated or very close. I just wasn’t ready back then. I didn’t understand my anxiety, and I had no idea what I was even interested in. I had only ever worked at restaurants, and thought that is what I had to do forever. It took me taking a break for me to find my fire. I might not graduate until I am 24, but that is okay. I take classes at night or online, work 40 plus hours a week, and ended up getting promoted at my job near the end of Spring Semester. Graduating at 24 or 25 isn’t that bad. I’m just happy it didn’t take me that long to figure out that I wanted to go back to school. It just took a break to figure out how much I wanted it.
I’m now headed into Summer of 2016, taking only 1 class and just keeping my eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel.