As a sophomore at Black Hawk College, although I cannot truthfully say that my time here is up and I have all the answers for naive incoming freshman, I can declare my love for this community college unabashedly. The truth is, when deciding on a college as a senior in high school, I was completely lost. I really didn’t get the whole “college” thing and I was unaware of which universities and community colleges were right for me. To make matters even more anxiety-inducing, I had no idea which degree path I wanted to take. I knew that I wanted to write, but how was I going to turn that into a career? Which college would best suit my individual needs? I spent most of my time worrying about making the wrong decision that it began to distract me from deciding on a college at all. Thankfully, friends, family, and high school instructors urged me to try out Black Hawk College. If I hadn’t, I don’t know where I would be today.
The instructors at BHC have been more than helpful, inviting, intriguing, and friendly than I ever could have imagined. The environment, both student and faculty, is just plain-old welcoming. It’s a great start for anyone who isn’t entirely sure of what they’re interested in studying, and a wise pick for your wallet.
Now, things are changing. I’ve already seen several good friends transfer after only a year at BHC to four-year universities. I can’t help but think, Wow. They’re so brave. Someday, I’m gonna have to make that gut-wrenching call. Even now, after finally discovering my destination in life, I’m still afraid of leaving my comfort zone here at BHC.
Thanks to my journalism professor at BHC, my best friend, fellow writer for The Chieftain Ella Bouwens and I got the chance to visit Eastern Illinois University. We went there for the ICCJA writer’s workshop. At the workshop, we listened in on lectures courtesy of journalism professors at the university, we heard some really interesting stories from an investigative journalist, and we got a feel of what the quaint university town of Charleston is all about.
I hadn’t really been on many college tours, but having this certain experience really triggered something inside of me. I think I realized after the tour that transferring wasn’t just going to mean getting a degree–it was going to be a huge part of my life. It was going to mean making new friends, sparking unknown interests, engaging in meaningful conversations, exploring the unknown, growing up, and discovering my identity. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true.
If I have any advice for fellow uncertain students, it’s this: if you see an opportunity, seize it. I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do in the future before I went on this school trip. It changed everything for me. If someone invites you to anything–to a museum, a school trip, a tour, to lunch–go with them! You have no idea what you’ll get out of it until you do it.
Additionally, don’t give up on your dreams. Even if you aren’t sure what your dreams are or even what you want to do, just keep searching. Whether it happens while you’re touring a college, chatting with professors, or eating a muffin and drinking your coffee–you will have your moment of clarity. You will discover where your path lies. The only thing left to do after discovering your dream is to make it happen.
I do apologize if I was being particularly cheesy in this reflective article. I’m thankful to have had my “moment of clarity” or “epiphany”–whatever you want to call it. I would love to hear from you guys, too. Have you had your epiphany? If so, please let me know what it is in the comments! Also, if you have any advice for incoming freshman, tell us what it is!