They tell you to go to college. To get a degree. You’ll get better jobs straight out of school than you would with just your high school diploma. What they don’t tell you is the job won’t be had straight after graduation. And while you’re looking for that job and waiting on phone calls, you’ll be struggling to live, be it on your own or back under your parents’ roof. I was one such person.
All my life I wanted to do just one thing; I wanted to teach. To teach you have to have at least one degree, if not more. But I was the oldest of three in a family where only one parent worked. My step-dad was a stay at home dad and my mom worked all day. I worked during the summers and a bit after school to help out; the usual high school jobs, babysitting, tutoring, staff at the local kids club, and wildfire support. Okay, so maybe wildfire support isn’t so typical, but it paid good money. Needless to say, even with me working, we were a relatively poor family. My mom always told me that if I wanted to go to college, a thing she thought I definitely should do, I had to pay my own way.
Junior year and the summer before senior year were spent doing college research, when I wasn’t gone on fire, which was a lot that year. I wanted a really good education, but on a budget and lots of scholarships. I had a decent list until I started on criteria I wanted. Good education program and biology department? Done. Scholarships awarded on need and grades? Check. Low fees outside tuition? Oh dear. There weren’t that many to pick from. But one did catch my interest. Top comprehensive school in the South, high interest in education and biology, tuition and fees per year - $500.
Whoa! Wait a minute! Tuition and fees only five-hundred dollars? That has got to be a typo; surely they meant $5,000 or even $50,000. It was a private school. Research showed that the book was correct. They meant $500. Private school catering to those in need. 3.8 GPA and 1100 SAT score required. Highly selective.
I was still slightly skeptical, but the school looked amazing and who was I to say no to a new opportunity. The waiting nearly drove me insane. Months passed and four other acceptance letters came before I heard from this school. I got in. I was over the moon before that thing called reality set in again. I was going to fly across the country to a school, to a state, I had never been to. I’d be stuck there whether I want to or not for at least a semester. On one hand, the idea was utterly terrifying, but on the other, it was the start of a thrilling adventure. And what an adventure it was.