You Are Not Your Academics: My Community College Journey

girl studying on floor

I was 17 and in the midst of my senior year, focused on cherishing the last year I’d ever spend at my high school. I didn’t really know where my life was headed or what I wanted to pursue after high school; I just knew I wanted to go to college. With poor grades, and little to no knowledge about the college process, my only option for an education was community college. At the time, I was embarrassed and ashamed of attending community college since I would hear people say the students are stupid. On top of that, I already felt unintelligent and incapable of academic success. My self esteem was at an all time low. 

Once the school year started, the majority of my friends left for their own university experience, and I was starting to spend more time with myself. I finally had the opportunity to clearly think about what I wanted in life. I started to see potential in myself, as I overcame these educational obstacles. I spent time learning more about what factors limited my personal growth. This solitude taught me how to enjoy my own presence, be independent, confident, and love myself. Even though I still don’t have an exact vision of what my future holds, this introspective period of time paved the way for my success. 

These are some activities I tried to help me gain independence, improve my self-confidence, and foster insight into my long term goals:

1. I started doing activities alone to enjoy my own company. I would go hiking, go out to eat, shop, and just drive around by myself. Doing this gave me a lot of time to reflect.

2. I stopped comparing myself to people. Comparison is the thief of joy. I realized every single person is incomparable because we are all vastly different, and we all have special qualities others don’t possess.

3. Each day, I would say one positive thing about myself, or something I was proud of. This actually makes a huge difference, and I recommend you trying it!

4. I analyzed why I felt the negative feelings I did about myself. Finding the root of my insecurities made it easier to process my emotions. Sometimes insecurities stem from events from the past you never even realized had a long-term effect. 

5. Journaling and writing out my thoughts helped me release any negative energy into the universe. 

The following year, I was ready to apply to universities. After hours and hours of time spent on my applications, I was accepted to University of California, Berkeley! After barely graduating high school, I achieved a goal I never would’ve imagined–thanks to my community college journey. If you’re reading this and looking into attending a community college, don’t be embarrassed. Embrace this promising chapter in life, and keep an open mind. You never know where you’ll wind up! 



Written By: Michelle (IG: @activismandstuff)




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