I have a really strong desire to attend college but, I really don't know why.

I’m 22 years old. I graduated high school in 2016. My local high school had an option where you could take classes through a local community college. I took the placement test so I could do that. On the day of the test, I was very sick and I just wanted to get through with it. That was an absolutely horrible mistake. I didn’t take any college courses in high school but because I took that test, I didn’t need it when I enrolled at the local community college (they had a small campus in my town). I ended up having to take 2 imputed credit classes. I started as a Business major. I hated that major. I decided to switch into engineering. At the same time, I was caring for a sick relative and was struggling to do well. After my second semester, I decided to temporarily drop out but return in a few years. I started working at a factory. A few months later, I got a job at a car dealer an hour away. That relative passed on. I got another job at a closer dealer (same company) but ended up having to go back as I was needed there. Last summer, I made the decision to re-enroll at the same local community college but the main campus. They told me that if I wanted to continue with an engineering program there, it would take me 4-6 years. I decided on taking an engineering class but going with a general education major. I absolutely hated that class. I didn’t understand and all the instructors didn’t seem very helpful. With my past fails and a car payment and struggling to find a part time job, I felt hopeless, miserable, and unmotivated. I dropped out again with no intention of returning to that college. The manager at my old job found out and let me come back (I liked the people there but hated the hour drive and what I did). I felt I had no choice but to accept it. 2 months later, I leave that job for a position at the Ford dealership that’s less than 5 minutes away. I currently work there, I detail trucks for a landscaping/construction company, and I detail cars for people on the side. I’m planning on trading in my car next year for a full size SUV so I can do more work with it. However, I’m not completely happy. This isn’t something I want to do for the rest of my life. Yeah, I can afford to travel and have nice things but I want to have a career and a retirement savings. My family wants me to go to a trade school but, no trades really interest me. I like doing those things but I wouldn’t want to do them for a career. I have an interest in the medical field and possibly becoming an ER doctor. My mom suggested a ride along in an ambulance (if I can) and/or taking EMT classes because it’s a foot in the door to the medical field. I’m not 100% sure that’s what I want to do though. I live in the Buffalo, NY area. I was thinking maybe starting fresh at a different college maybe by my aunt’s in PA (there’s many affordable choices around her). I feel the only way I can do well in college, is if I go somewhere new and be far enough away that I won’t be going everywhere but school (and she’s always a 4.0 student so she could probably help me). I’ve got this really strong desire to go to college and I don’t know why. However, I’m not planning on attending until I’ve got a general idea of what I’m doing so I don’t waste time and money.

PA colleges are expensive for OOS students. What’s your current college GPA? The SUNYs are great schools. Is attending the Buffalo campus a possibility? If not, can you commute to a different community college?

I think you need to separate your feelings about the majors (business, engineering, etc) from the classes you took. Sometimes it’s not the material that’s not a good fit for the student, it’s the professor. It might help to take a few classes in different areas to see what you like. If you’re working a well paid job you can probably afford that. But it will be easier without a huge monthly car payment.

What’s the highest math class you took (algebra2, precalculus, calculus…?)

Will your family be supportive of your going to college?

A reason you may want to go to college: you know there’s more. You want to know more, learn more, see more.
You may even look forward to a challenge and show to yourself you’re able to do it, even if earlier circumstances derailed you a little (although you’ve done well for yourself, congrats on your resilience, willingness to help others, and your in-demand skills).

What about you start out part time at SUNY Buffalo, paying out of pocket, taking a math class, a science class, and an English composition class?
Look on Rate my professor to make sure you take that class with good professors. It makes a huge difference.
These three classes would help you discern your strengths and work regardless of major. Keep in mind that it may be difficult or boring; you’ll test yourself in your ability to persevere and find help - all students come across difficult or boring material and their success depends on 1) asking for help + 2) pushing through and doing ok the work.
With the state of the economy, keep your job for as long as you’re able to. Save if you can.

If you’re thinking about careers like ER doc or EMT then you should definitely do some research into respiratory therapy and nursing. RT is usually a 2 year program at a cc and has decent wages/benefits right out of school. Your main role is in critical care/emergency care for patients need help breathing. We’re at every code and are the ones at the head of the bed bagging the patient getting them ready for the ventilator. (Obviously there’s a lot more to the field). RT pays better and is safer than being a paramedic. Nursing is also a great field and the benefit is better pay and a million ways to work as a nurse from ER, ICU, prisons to private corporate nurse. Rural NY would likely hire you with an associates RN but pretty much you need a bachelors RN for most high level hospitals.

*I’m an RT, my husband does ct scan/radiology - another field you should look into. Good luck!

If you think you are interested in medicine, go ahead and do a couple ride-alongs. Your local community college probably has an EMT program where you could get your initial training. They also might have sonography, EKG, or phlebotomy certification or the like. All of those could get your feet in the door of a place that isn’t an automobile dealership. Many hospitals and clinics promote from within and help pay for further training.

When you transfer to complete your 4-year degree, or even if you transfer to a different CC, you will need to send a transcript from your old CC. So it could make best sense for you to take only one class at a time for a while so that you can really focus on getting good grades. When you do transfer, your new good grades will count for more than the old bad ones.