Avoid Distractions By Choosing Community College

By Julia Catalano
A goal of many high school students is to get away from their parents.

“I can’t wait to graduate and get the hell out of here,” I used to hear time and time again in school.

Do these students care solely about getting the education when they move away after high school? Or is it more important to them to be away from their parents with no rules and complete freedom? The more appealing reason to most 19 year olds is quite obvious, and although we work so hard to get accepted to these amazing schools, sometimes staying home at first is a smarter decision.

My plans for attending Hofstra fell through last minute when I was a freshman. I didn’t necessarily want to go to a community college. I felt like I was missing out when all my friends talked about their roommates and new dorms. I was completely jealous. I felt like I wasted all my hard work from high school by going to a school that was so easy to get into. I was going to “the 13th grade” while all my other friends were getting an advanced education and experiencing the time of their lives… or so I thought.

Three years later, my opinion on staying home has changed completely. Staying home and attending Suffolk Community College to obtain an Associates degree was a very important decision, and I am so glad I made the right choice. This may sound crazy to some, but I feel that staying home has helped me gain experience, knowledge, and realization of what it is I want to do with my life without wasting time or money at a four-year school.

Students who go away to school their freshman year face many stress-related issues. Adapting to a new environment, making new friends, setting up your dorm room, and living alone for the first time can cause a lot of stress for students, and stress can be very distracting when getting an education. Lack of sleep, too much partying, and new adjustments can cause students who go away for their first two years to fall off the right learning track and forget why it is they are where they are.

Staying home for school has had more pros than cons for me. At first seeing pictures online of everyone’s dorm rooms, theme parties and drunken nights had me thinking I was missing out. But the reality of it was, the college party life gets old quickly and what you’re paying tens of thousands of dollars for is just being negatively affected.

Students admitted that too much partying can lead to skipping classes and ultimately scholastic probation and low grade point averages.

“I transferred home after my freshman year at Cortland. It was a lot of fun in the beginning but it became too crazy for me. I would sleep through my 7am classes because of the week-long-partying every night. At first I didn’t mind it because I was having so much fun, but when I was on academic probation after the first semester is when I realized it was not okay,” said Christina Gorry, current Ammerman campus student.

Along with worries about academic performance, students said tuition costs could be a big factor in the decision to return home.

“I transferred home this year because the tuition was just too expensive at St. Johns. My parents had go through crazy extremes just to afford my tuition. A professor of mine had told us he also taught at Nassau Community College and I was in shock. I realized I could get a good education if I stayed home and not put my parents and myself in so much debt for a private school,” said Krissy Wiggens, a computer science major on the Ammerman campus.

Finally, students may lack the maturity to take on the responsiblity of staying focused. They may not even have an awareness of what they plan to do in the future, and ultimately, they waste money, time and credits in an academic institution that they didn’t investigate thoroughly.

“Basically I partied my ass off at New England college. I wasted two years. My credits weren’t transferrable for the most part because my college had courses that were basically made up for that school only. After going to NEC for two years, I realized teaching was not even something I wanted to do, so now that I’m attending Suffolk for business while working at a hair salon, I feel horrible for wasting so much of my parent’s money,” said Brittany Willis, a business major on the Ammerman campus.

If it weren’t for my decision to stay home, I would have wasted thousands of dollars as well. Being that Suffolk is only a couple thousand dollars per semester, I receive refund checks every semester for financial aid that have helped me to get my car. My car has enabled me to get a full-time job, which has completely shown me what is it I love to do. Staying home for school means that I can work while I go to school, and working in retail has given me a huge amount of knowledge and experience in the fashion world. Staying home has altered my decision to become a journalist. While I’m still majoring in journalism/communications, I have begun to lean towards the marketing aspect of this major. Having a full time job where I was able to work hands on has shown me what it’s like to be in the real world and led me to making the perfect career choice.

While attending Suffolk, I was able to work for the school newspaper, take management classes for my job, and still go to school full-time. I have been able to save money, build a great resume, and earn some amazing experience in the working world.

I believe that at age 18, 19, and 20 we are maturing a lot. Staying home for school can allow us to understand what it is we want to do with our lives as we mature. Gaining a general associates degree will prepare us for the future and guide us towards what it is we want to pursue, without all of the social distractions.

After we have matured and experienced our core education, we can decide what school it is we should attend for a higher degree. Being 20 years old I am able to make a smarter, more functional decision about my education without the distractions of wanting to party and get away from my parents’ rules.

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