Three years ago, I started my sophomore year. I was still working as a reporter and playing high school football for one of the top teams in the state of North Dakota (I admittedly wasn't very good and had other passions, like sports writing). That winter, my family took a trip down to the Twin Cities and I took an unofficial tour of the University of Minnesota. At that point, I began to seriously think about where I wanted to go for college.
I didn't know what I wanted to major in, what field I wanted to go into. I've bounced around from a STEM field, to Marketing, to Broadcasting/Journalism. But I knew I wanted to go somewhere that had some name recognition. I wanted somewhere that was not, for lack of a better term, a "sausage fest." I wanted to be go to big time football games as a student, like my mother and her mother had. But most importantly, I needed space.
A year had passed, and we went down to Minneapolis again, and then I got stressed. I thought I was a pretty qualified student. I soon got a little more greedy. I began to think I could do more. Go farther, like California, Ohio State, or Washington. I was fixated on that. I wanted out. I wanted to be a part of the rest of the country, a world I still feel shut out of living in North Dakota.
I took actions I thought were necessary to go that distance. I retook the ACT, only to get the same score of a 30. I continued my volunteer activities and extracurriculars. I took the toughest classes my school offered. When I graduate this May, I will have completed 3 full dual credit classes and a semester of science.
By the time my senior year started, I began filling out applications. I got daunted by the Common App, and beginning that process of filling out scholarships was scary. I also didn't apply to a few others because I realized I could not afford them, such as Washington. When 2016 ended, I had filled out my FAFSA and applied to 4 schools: Minnesota, Montana, Montana State, and University of North Dakota. I was accepted to all 4. My financial aid was garbage. My scope had shrunk. I know that most suggest to avoid loans, but they were my only option to go somewhere worth going to. But I was fine with that. My first choice was Minnesota, and I had wanted to go there for a very long time. I had finally had a plan I was comfortable with, despite not getting into the college I wanted. I was okay with taking out private loans from the state bank. I had finally accepted what I was going to do this fall.
And then last week, my parents dropped quite a bombshell. They said that they were probably not going to be able to, thanks to my mother's student debt from graduate school, and not willing to cosign on loans. It doesn't help that my dad has been furloughed since 2017 began. I cannot take those loans out on my own. My biggest problem with this is is that it didn't come sooner. It's March, after all the deadlines, and I don't really have a clue on where to go from here.
At this point, I'm not even sure if I can go to college. Despite applying for numerous scholarships now, I do not know I can even cover the cost of attendance at the University of North Dakota, a cold, smelly, boring 4-year community college. But I guess I can't afford to hold those flaws against them anymore.
I've heard a few suggestions. The first is to swallow my pride, do the embarrassing thing and live at home and go to the local community college. That would great, if there were a local community college. The nearest are each an hour minimum away, which on icy North Dakota roads is too dangerous a commute. The next suggestion is to take a gap year. I only have three years left of being considered a dependent and having access to military benefits thanks to my retired dad, which I want to use as much as possible while I am broke in college. And frankly, in rural North Dakota, where the hell am I going to find a job that pays enough for me to go to college. On top of that, both solutions would remove any scholarship money I received to begin with.
It wasn't until recently that found I had a passion, some semblance talent, and experience in a field (Sports Journalism & Broadcasting) Now, the opportunity to study it and make a career out of it seems lost.
I feel so crushed and bitter. I really just want a magic solution to fix everything, but one doesn't exist. It looks like I'm destined to be stuck in this frozen hell. Though I am still looking for advice, this story might serve as a lesson. Hopefully someone can find one and see where I went wrong.