The transition to college is a very big change in students’ lives, and it can generate many fears and insecurities.
When I was in 8th grade, my middle school class went to a career fair. For the entire trip, I was filled with fear and anxiety about my future. How was a thirteen-year-old supposed to know what they are going to do for a career? Ever since that trip, every year that went by was scarier and scarier for me, because my future was getting closer and closer, and I had no idea what I was going to do. You can’t exactly freeze time in order to figure out your life, but you can start to observe what you love to do, which is what I did. Now, I can happily say that I am excited to see where my future leads me.
Ever since I was little, I have always loved photography. I would take pictures with my iPod, my mom’s camera, and soon my own iPhone. On my 16th birthday, my family chipped in to get me a camera. Ever since then, I have taken pictures of everything and anything. You know what they say, “a picture paints a thousand words.” I have always been someone to try and make as many memories and humanly possible. It took me a long time to realize that this hobby of mine could actually be something. I had learned so many things from the photography classes at school, but a career in that field had never been brought up before. In this day and age, basically anything you enjoy can be a career. I guess I hadn’t really processed that until I started looking at colleges. In the application process, you are supposed to write down your possible majors. There are lists upon lists of them, and photography was included in a lot of them. If it wasn’t photography specifically, it would be something in liberal arts or communications, which is also a passion of mine. The opportunities are endless, it just took me longer to realize it.
As far as the application process goes, it gets pretty tedious very quickly. The Common Application makes life very easy because it is all one big application that you can send to all the schools that accept it. Not all colleges accept this though, so some colleges require a completely separate application. By the time I was reaching the end of the application process, I had around 15 essays that I could maneuver to fit the prompt that was given for the college. After all this was done, and I was accepted into the schools, the hard part came along: money and decision making. I am still continuing to complete scholarship applications because I would rather not be in debt until I’m 40. You can never, have too many scholarships. The more money you are granted, the less you have to worry about it.
For pretty much all of high school, I had decided that I would go to the school that granted me the most money, end of discussion. As I looked into this deeper though, I realized that the school that gave me the most money didn’t have a good photography program at all. It wasn’t accredited, and it seemed like it would not give me the most opportunities after college. The school I want to go to would give me the most opportunities during and after college, like internships or even the chance for a job early on. On top of that though, I wanted to have the college experience. I want to go to football games and meet amazing people that I will know for the rest of my life. I want to enjoy the classes I go to and the professors who teach me. So, I decided that the school that gave me the most money is not the school I should go to, it should be the school that makes me feel like I’m at home away from home. I have officially committed to Arizona State University, and I will be majoring in Art Studies, which will not only give me a taste of many different fields of technology, but it also gives me the chance to submit a portfolio at the end of the semester so I can change my major to photography.
I used to be terrified of college. I used to be scared of the fact that I wouldn’t be living under the same roof as my parents, and that I would enter this new society where I knew barely anything about it or the people who lived in it. Now, I couldn’t be more excited to start my new life. I can’t wait to be on my own and have a fresh start for myself. So, at the end of all of this, I feel like I have some advice to offer. Never say never. Everyone has a passion, and there will likely be a program or major that allows you to pursue that passion. Also, students should apply for every scholarship possible. Even if it is only for a couple of hundred dollars, do it anyway because every penny helps. I hope everyone is happy at the college they have chosen, and that this new life will bring them endless opportunities, success, and memories they can look back on with a big smile on their face.