Students shouldn’t rush into college

David Pleyel

As the fall semester comes to a close, and one more semester stands between me and graduation, it just can’t come fast enough. The long nights in the library hunched over my laptop, the constant reading and re-reading of chapters was about as fun as watching paint dry at times.

Then I start to think about what I had to go through to get this far, though, and it really makes me glad that I decided to go back to school and chase after something I was passionate about. Let’s face it: nowadays it’s hard to get that dream job everyone’s chasing after without a degree under your belt.

But on the other hand, I don’t think someone should just rush into college without a plan and just hope that they figure it out along the way. Some of life’s valuable lessons and skills can’t be taught via book or lecture hall. Taking a few years off was definitely an eye opener for me and one that I’m very grateful to have experienced.

I graduated high school in 2002; it was like a 200-pound weight lifted from my shoulders. I hated school with a passion and never wanted to look back. I had gotten a job at a local retail store before graduation and was looking forward to full time hours and what I thought was a hefty paycheck.

As I worked full time, I figured the natural course of action was to enroll in college and try to get a better job than what I had at the time. The problem was that I had no plan, but I figured that it would come to me once I got involved in the whole ordeal. It’s funny when you look back on your childhood and life seemed so simple when you told your parents, “I want to be a doctor or a fire fighter.”

I’d like to just lie at this point and tell you I did awesome on my ACT and had a 4.0 throughout high school, but that’s not the case at all. Between my 2.5 GPA and my mediocre ACT scores, the only thing colleges inquired about was if I received my rejection letter and if I would fill out a survey saying that it was sent to me in a timely fashion.

So I went with the only option available to me, which was to enroll in a community college for a year to get my GPA to a respectable level and then transfer to a university while I worked full- time.

It didn’t take long for me to feel out of place. I had no desire to study, learn or listen to people lecture me on dead war heroes or micro economics. I eventually stopped going to class, moved out on my own, and continued to work full time.

To make a long story short, I ended up working for five years in two dead-end retail jobs that paid my bills, bought my toys, and kept me fed. It was a good experience to live on my own. I could stay out as late as I wanted, didn’t have to explain anything to anyone. Life was bliss at the time.

Eventually, the wear and tear of retail hours got to me. I thought to myself one day at work that there has to be something better to life than this. I went home that night and wrote down all the pros and cons of going back to school and narrowed down a few majors that interested me.

Now that I finally had a plan together, I went back to community college, got my GPA up and transferred to Northern, mainly because it was a small school and it just seemed like the right choice for me. I’ve never looked back.

The point that I hope you get from reading this is that we all are trying to do what we think is best. Everyone has their goals and their dreams that they want to achieve, but you have to have that mind set and realize it may not be an easy road. But some of the best things in life never come easy, and it just makes it that much sweeter when your dream becomes a reality.