So like any adolescent fresh out of high school, I was completely overwhelmed at where to go next: community college, workforce, a year off or a four-year university? At the age of 17, I just accepted leaving high school−now I'm on my own. The thought alone turned the meanest kid on the block stunned with fear. But oddly enough, throughout my mess, I ended up doing a year at both a community college and a four-year university. With any college, you have your classes, friends, extracurriculars, and so on. But no one told me what I was in for at both colleges, so here goes my experience.
I don’t care who you are, but with college, having friends makes the world of a difference.
In community college. There was limited room to meet new people outside of classes, because when classes were over they’d just drive to wherever in Orlando, FL. In community college, no one cared about talking to new people because you probably wouldn’t see them again tomorrow if you didn’t have a class. But with a little luck, I made friends within two weeks of starting. These people ended up being my own version of a "Friends" episode. It was easy because we were all basically from the same background and majors, something I definitely didn’t expect.
At my University, friends came and gone every week, there was no stability for the first few months. Granted it’s easier to meet people since there’s always so much going on, but it was harder to connect since so many groups have already been established. It got to the point that I considered dropping out because I was so lonely. Then again with a little luck and 2 months, I found a group of people that have become my family.
Now aside from the parties and Netflix binging, comes the real reason we go to school: our education. While both were exceptional, there’s a wide difference in the spectrum of the two.
With community college, they had your basics and some specific courses to your major. Surprisingly enough, they’re more hands-on than my first semester at a four-year University. But with my experience, the professors were lackluster except for two. They were never able to discuss outside of class, never gave extra help and sometimes would show up 30 minutes late to class.
While the professors at University grind my gears, they do help most of the time when worst comes to worst. But the amazing thing about university is the wide range alone. From classes to the most obscure field of Journalism to Demonology classes, they can make any mind get excited over what’s next.
Need I say anything else?
Astonishingly so, the food was better at my community college. There were healthier options and access to other restaurants within a 5-mile radius. You would always catch me eating a spinach wrap.
Now at University, you’ll be catching me with a never-ending line of chicken wraps and ramen. Pro tip: If there’s an event with free food, go to it with no hesitation.
This is where the fun, the friends and the free food are all at.
Extracurriculars? What’s that? Honestly, there was no word of any sort of clubs at community college. No one wanted to stick around longer than they had to.
At University, the never-ending list makes it so tempting to join at least a dozen clubs. Or six if you’re me. It can get a little jolting to schedule all the meetings, but because of those clubs, I joined the radio station, been published by multiple blogs and get to travel to NYC. It's arguably one of the best things about college I’ve ever experienced.
This goes without saying 99.9% of the time, but of course community college is cheaper. But I don’t mind joining the rest of America swimming in debt for right now.
Now a common complaint with any school is the guidance department and staff. With community college, they’re straight to the point.
The staff at community college and their efficiency−something incredibly refreshing than the constant back and forth between six administrators you normally deal with at university.
Either way, I could’ve made a home from each school. But the advice I’d give anyone coming right out of high school is trying community college for a year, see where you are mentally and academically afterward, and work from there. That time gave me the developing I needed to excel so much later in my college career. I’m grateful where I am now because if it wasn’t for that first year I wouldn’t have been able to go off to university. I started as a film major dead set of working in SFX makeup. Now I’m majoring in Journalism and constantly writing articles and poetry. You never know where life will take you. But I’m glad I ended up at Hofstra University.
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