College doesn’t define me

PYO intern and columnist Linda Chen. (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)


 

It’s Friday morning at 9:57 a.m. and the stress is real. Friends are discussing colleges, while I sit believing I’ve got the college stress under control.

Still, that does not mean there is no stress for me.

After overhearing the talk and stress concerning colleges among classmates, I feel it is time to share my opinion on colleges and higher education.

Applying to college is stressful in itself. In class once, I overheard a girl who wanted to get into a school that only 7 percent of students were admitted to. That comment goes against everything I have built myself to believe. I understand how students want to be the best but does this mean going to a well-known school?

Does the school we attend really make us who we are?

My answer is “no.” A college does not make or break your life. If a student can carry himself or herself well enough, no matter where they attend, they will rise up.

Where someone goes to college is irrelevant. It is important for us to think about and decide which colleges are for us. For example,  “Do I want more diversity?” or “Do I want a big school where professors won’t know me or a small school where they will know my name?”

Rather than deciding to apply to one of the “best” colleges around to only find yourself average in the school, why not try a different route and apply to a safety school that holds the same educational weight? Why not go someplace where professors are more available to help you figure out where you want to be, rather than having a teacher never available to answer the questions you have.

Starting now, we can decide what is the best choice. In the end, it is really our opinion and if you are a student with no idea of where to go, look at community colleges first. They are cost-effective, equal education and a small transition into a college environment. If you, on the other hand, are going for the college experience that has been fictionalized to be exciting and fun, then go the four-year university route.                   Just be sure to keep in mind the amount of money you will have to pay for that education.

I thought I always wanted the four-year university route. But now I’m considering the community college. I want to have as many options open and make the wisest decision I can. For other students thinking similarly as me, both options are both nice in that we can get different benefits from each.

To the student thinking this winter about entering college in the fall, I say, “go for it.”

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Apply to a mix of colleges, then decide which one is the better option for you.

Linda Chen is a senior at Middle College High School at Durham Tech and a Partners for Youth Opportunity intern with the Durham VOICE.


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