Just went through my first week of community college and it has been great. Now I didn't go into this situation with an entirely negative mindset, but I wasn't exactly the biggest optimist. I was worried about getting a "lesser" education and how people would judge me. Now I know that the former is not an issue, and that the latter just isn't important.
First off, all of my professors are geniuses. They are, without a doubt, masters of their subject, and this quality alone has motivated me to buckle down on my studies and actually yearn to learn! A big part of my laziness in high school contributed to the fact that my teachers lacked passion. Sure, the classes were easy, but I was only interested in doing the minimum. You know, just getting by; passing my classes for the sake of passing by high school. The teachers were either sub-par or putting out the minimum, so I figured why should I care? I'll just put out the minimum and be a sub-par student (this made a lot of sense to a fourteen-year-old). I was more concerned with completing my video game backlog and messing around with my friends. It wasn't until my second semester of senior year that I matured by realizing the importance of hard work and pursuing an education.
Thank goodness websites like ratemyprofessors exist. It's like I'm the boss in college. I make the times, I choose the professors, and I create the experience. But in high school you can easily get screwed over by your counselor, or however your classes are assigned. I had what amounted to one good teacher for my first two years of high school. Now my junior year did give me a bunch of great teachers, and the subjects were finally challenging, but at this point I was too set in stone with my lazy ways. In fact, I'm still surprised that I managed to pass chem having slept in class all the time (I opened the book once for a rare take home test that my teacher gave because he pitied most of us).
But yeah, so I've gotten really good vibes from all of my professors so far. Their lectures have left me wanting to take notes, thinking about class beyond the classroom, and being excited to study. It's like academics are a game to me now; a game that I really want to win and set the high score to. And these are extremely educated people! I couldn't help but pause while I was skimming my college's catalog when I noticed that my music theory professor went to Cambridge. Freaking Cambridge! I mean, at least in America, I'm impressed when I hear one of the ivy leagues, but name-drop Oxford or Cambridge and I will instantly assume that you're lying through your teeth. But no, it's the truth; my music theory professor really was educated at Cambridge, and it doesn't stop there. My other professors have degrees from the likes of UCLA and UPenn.
Things turned out way better than I expected they would. I came in with this ignorant view that "I'm just going to power through this intellectual wasteland and transfer in two years". And just think of how damning it is to say that, not just in regards to the professors, but to people that attend a community college. See me, my background is secure. I live with my less-well-off mother, but my father makes quite a bit of money and actively supports me. I'm one of the lucky ones. You can't say the same for everyone at community college. For example, there is the guy in my Anthropology class who had to leave the country for ten years because he got on the bad side of an extremely influential gang. People that will send someone across the country in order to kill you for turning your back on them. Now this gang has died off and he's back to pursue an education. I also befriended this middle-eastern woman in my English class whose parents sacrificed their lives to get her to America years ago. She has to work a crummy full-time job while being enrolled at the college in order to support herself. It's just her against the world. She could hardly string together a coherent sentence when she first arrived. Now we're in English 102 together discussing the themes of Death of a Salesman.
Honestly, I think these community colleges do a better job at promoting a diverse student body than top tier universities do. This is where you find true diversity. Not everyone is a hard worker or a prodigy. Sure, at the ivy leagues you might be diverse based on your race or financial background, but there's more than just that at community college. Unfortunately the real world is not like an intellectual bubble; places like University of Chicago or small liberal arts colleges where you can sit down and have developed conversations about differential equations and James Joyce. There is so much more to life than just that! Sometimes the ordinary things reveal themselves to be extraordinary.
Although don't think I'm knocking down higher institutions! After all, my goal is to use community college as a bridge to be accepted by my dream school, UC Berkeley. I really do want to attend a university where my peers are all extremely hard working, intelligent, talented, any combination of these, etc. But for now I appreciate where I am, and I'm confident that these are going to be an interesting two years. Feels like I'm really going to develop as a person.
Sorry about the tangent, but I am in shock with how I've found purpose and enjoyment in community college! If you asked me how I felt about going to one earlier in the year then I would have responded with self-loathing and regret. Fast forward to my first week of college and I can't shut up about how great it was! And it's just such a relief that it's not like high school. My friends were telling me "lol your going to face high school part two while I'm going to a legit college to have the time of my life" or "I'm getting a real education and not the thirteenth grade". Well my first week of community college has been leagues better than my first two and a half years of high school, and I'm confident these next two years will absolutely crush all the time I spent in high school.
It's funny. I clearly remember my father telling me at my middle school graduation that "these next four years are going to be the best years of your life". Well he was wrong. They were the worst. I had never faced so much shallowness and insecurity. And then he told me (well pretty much everyone said this) that life will suck in community college, but at least it will get better when I transfer. Well so far he's wrong. I've hit the ground running, and I'm going to continue running so that someday I can look back on my time at community college with fond memories.