I hadn’t researched colleges prior to accepting my spot at Baylor. SMU was the only other school on my radar because of its proximity to home. I was told it was a good fit and that I would probably get in, so I applied. However, I ultimately ended up spending my first two years of college at Baylor. Applying to only two schools and not a lot of scholarships did not fare well for me. At the time that other students were feverishly applying for scholarships and meticulously researching their potential schools, I was naively going with what I thought was right. Those two years would have there ups and downs, but I would make some good memories and even better friends there.
My freshmen year resemble my high school experience a lot. I attended my first week of classes only to find different sets of high school classmates in each one. I attended class, joined a sorority, lived on campus, and dined in dining halls. Eat, sleep, study, and repeat, this was my routine for the next four semesters. As the second semester of my sophomore year rolled around I was both emotionally and mentally fatigued. Because of circumstances back at home, both personal and financial, I knew I would not be continuing with my friends and program like I expected. Getting ready to head back home meant transfer applications and the new enrollment process.
My final semester at Baylor I maintained a B/C average and stopped participating in a lot of events on campus and in friend groups. The disappointment and frustration kicked in and I was just tired. Tired of my circumstance, tired of the weight of everything, and tired of feeling like I was cheated. At this point, I was only going through the motions and I didn’t care for my studies as I once had. To me, even with completing the prereqs for nursing school I could not afford to attend without taking on even more debt, which was not an option.
It’s no secret that education here in the States is crazy expensive for what it is and is very subjective like buying brand or generic. By this, I mean the stigma that’s associated with attending community college. Whether its purposeful or not some parts of society impress upon us that university is the gold standard and that anything less is, well, less. People who attend community college either couldn’t afford to go to university or weren’t smart enough to get in or to qualify for the right scholarships/aid. This is far from the truth.
This distinction of who’s who and what’s what was established in high school. I remember in high school, the grand emphasis placed on advanced placement classes versus dual credit. I was always told that colleges prefer AP classes and they look better on transcripts, and blah blah blah. This statement is partially true. In my district at least AP courses were weighted differently into GPAs. An A in an AP course equaled a 6.0, while A’s in “regular” courses are only worth 4.0. The significance behind these numbers is the effect this has on the class ranking system. The top 10% of the student body is exclusive to those students ready and able to compete in advanced level classes, which effects college acceptance and scholarship award distribution. This is what schools push, especially for the monetary benefit they receive with each student in attendance and for certain scores received by each in a course (compensation varies by state). Here lies the breeding ground for such a destructive and paralyzing mindset.
Don’t get me wrong, there is something to be said about the rigor and preparation taught and learned from taking an AP class, but know that colleges accept both dual credit and AP equally. The only true difference between the two is the challenge of obtaining full credit for an AP course. I took both AP and dual credit courses and I receive credit for every dual credit course I took, but not AP. These tools gave me a solid foundation in college and everything was great until it wasn’t. I said my goodbyes and packed my things to head to a new home than the one I lost and the one I had made at Baylor. It was clear that I would need to rebuild myself and my suffering GPA.
NOTE from the Author
If you take nothing else away from my posts, it’s that there is more than one way to accomplish your goals. No matter what don’t give up, however you may be delayed or redirected, there is always a way to achieve what you want to achieve.