Ashley Renee x

college graduation

I did it! Bucket List #13 – Bachelors Degree!!

I completed my Bachelors degree, bucket list item #13 and this is what I learned.

First, I am proud to say that I have finally completed that item! So, here is my message to the college student who is asking themselves why is college so hard? As a recent graduate I would like to sit here and say that I have the answer for you on why you may be struggling through college but I didn’t get the kind of degree where I’m qualified to tell you how or why you think or feel a certain way. So, instead I’m going to share why I think college was so hard for myself.

High School Graduation

High School Graduation

It starts with High School Graduation. Throughout high school we make all these friends. We have some easy classes and we have some more difficult classes but usually, we show up because our parents make us and we have no other option. We go through the motions and we’re usually with our friends who are literally feeling our same pain with us. We have study partners and people to complain to who are going through the same stuff we are. During senior year senioritious kicks in and everybody just wants to be DONE with high school. There is nothing wrong with this, it’s just the way it is. But then college comes around the corner. We say our goodbyes to our families or we rather stay with our families and prepare for a whole new world that everyone cracks up to be some of the best times of their lives. And while some people truly feel that way, studies have shown that depression through college has grown more and more throughout the years.

Starting College

Starting college with new teammates was so exciting!

When you start college, everything is generally exciting. You’re starting something new and the classes are usually pretty easy. You show up, do your work, take your test, and move on to the next semester. I literally had teachers who would do a “study guide” and change the numbers around for the test and the study guide was the exact same as the test. I will say however, I went to a community college and was an athlete so maybe I just got the easy professors. Never the less, getting your AA degree is fairly simple. You’re with your friends and having a blast your freshman year.

If you’re at home you understand that your still young and it’s ok to live with your parents. I mean, you just graduated High School after all. But, then you get your AA. You did good but you have more to go so you move on to your Bachelors Degree.

Bachelors Degree

By the time you get to your bachelors degree you are obviously older so the party days may begin to slow down for you. You and your friends move on to different degrees which means you need to find new study partners or friendships in your chosen degree. This can be difficult for anybody to meet new people and leave behind some old friendships because you are both simply off doing other things. On top of this, if you’re living at home, real life might be creeping up on you. You might see some people you graduated with on social media showing off their travels or buying their first home from friends who may not have gone off to college like you did.

Then classes begin to get more difficult. At this point, you might start feeling like what you’re doing is pointless. Like you’re putting in a lot of effort studying, trying, and learning while you begin to develop a deep hole of debt. All the while you’re seeing some of your old classmates who didn’t go to college and they started making decent money right out of high school. They’re now able to afford a home or a nice car so reality checks in. You realize you’re working your butt off for something that doesn’t even feel worth it. And then you might think, why am I even doing this? Everybody told me I need to go to college but all i’m doing is building up debt and studying 24/7 just for a piece of paper in my hand.

That’s when college gets hard. The moment you become unmotivated and you know that you’re now an adult who can make their own decisions and you don’t have your parents to force you to go to school now. You focus on what you don’t have and what other people have. Keeping friendships becomes more difficult due to all the time spent studying and working for your degree so you’re left with a feeling of emptiness and uncertainty.

You might feel defeated and you may begin to question your efforts to get your degree. You may realize college isn’t hard in itself. You learn like you’ve always learned and you apply what you learned through tests, internships, etc. It’s the other part of college that’s hard. The lack of motivation due to what you see everybody else has.

But, let me tell you something. While you’re working for that degree, you’re slowly opening your bucket of opportunities for a career and your working towards something that you earned that literally nobody else could have done for you and something that nobody else could ever, ever take away! You will have accomplished something that a lot of people have worked towards but don’t always reach. That piece of paper that you thought was “just a piece of paper” becomes something that you can show off and cherish forever because you earned that and in the end, you should feel proud and grateful that you stuck it out.

Online Graduation photo thanks to COVID.

What’s my Take on College?

Recently I graduated with my teaching degree. I’m not sure how but it took me 6 years to complete this degree and it was something that I wasn’t very motivated to achieve. The only reason I got the degree was because I needed it to teach in a classroom. My family wanted me in college and I wanted to make them proud. But, through college I felt lost (I still do) and I felt sad a lot of the time. The fact that there were people who I graduated with in high school were getting careers 3 or 4 years out of high school and I was still living with my parents for support was something that I wasn’t very proud of. A lack of a real job and feeling immature for it was not a good feeling. The school work was difficult of course, just as you would expect but it wasn’t the most difficult thing. The most difficult thing was finding the motivation to stay in college and not drop out so that I could actually start my career sooner.

I think college is not what it is all cracked up to be. I think people go to college thinking that they need a degree to get a good or “real” job but, the life experience you get without college is just as valuable as actual college and could save you from a lot of sadness and depression. One thing I will say however, once I accomplished that bucket list goal number 13 and I heard my name in the graduation ceremony, I felt proud! I did something pretty big all on my own which is going to be a major accomplishment in my life forever!

So while college is hard (because it really is), make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not for somebody else. Go out there and focus on you and not the other distractions and when it’s all said and done, you’ll be holding that degree grateful that you pushed through!

Why is/was college so hard for you?

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