My Life in Community College

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September 21, 2015

After spending Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade as a homeschooler, and the 4th grade through the 12th in a private Christian school, I chose to continue my education by going to my local town’s community college.

Why did I chose this rather then going off to a university? I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Even after taking all those career tests and a semi-class (activity) called High School and Beyond, I still had no idea. There are so many options out there. I couldn’t pick one thing to stick with for the rest of my life. So, my goal for community college was to get an Associate of Arts and Science Degree.

My First Quarter (Fall 2015): The transition from high school life to college life was very jarring. I went from having friends to none; being dependent to independent; not having to pay for anything to having to pay for supplies, books and half of my tuition; always having a ride to school to fighting for a parking spot.

Somehow I ended up with four part-time jobs, three classes, and one of those classes required a certain amount of hours outside of class as part of the overall grade. So yes, very busy first quarter. And on top of that I apparently decided that I wanted to start/try to write up the first draft of my story (of course this was going to relate to writing a little bit or at least be mentioned 🙂 ).

I didn’t know what was happening to me, but I loved being busy, having a list of things to do, places to go, and a schedule to keep.

I loved being independent. I loved how teachers aren’t always “watching” over us, like asking where we are going if we get up and leave the classroom all of the sudden. Don’t get me wrong, my professors did care about us. If a student didn’t show up to class after a week or two, they would find out if they dropped the class or if they were ill or something. Or if we were standing in the hallway or outside doing nothing and they’d come up to use and ask “Why aren’t you in class?” (Again, this is something they didn’t do which was nice).

Winter Quarter 2016: One of the part-time jobs I had was a mowing job and it was winter. I was down to three jobs.

Anyway, when a student applied to the college and after they had given us tests and learned what we were leaning toward (in terms of what we wanted to do with our life), I was assigned the art director of the collage as my adviser. I had never gone to see him before until this particular quarter, just to give him an update on where I was with my AA degree. He was very impressed with how I had laid out exactly what I wanted/needed to take for the degree.

He’s a nice guy. We talked about what I was interested in, what I would like to do as a career (which I still didn’t know), he suggested a particular class to me, Art and Ornithology (drawing and learning about birds – it was a fun class!) and then he showed me two certificates the art center offered: Graphic Design and Digital Design. Both sounded interesting so I decided to shoot for both.

Yeah, I was going nuts. Two certificates and a degree. Full load of classes plus work. How did I have any time to myself? But again, I liked being busy.

Spring Quarter 2016: The Art and Ornithology class was the first class I took that was roughly four hours long (twice a week). We’d start out in the art building with a lecture, draw, and then moved to another building which was the biology center. I have to say, it was nice we got to stretch our legs. Every few Saturdays, we met early in the morning to go on a field trip to see the birds.

Also took a math class but that wasn’t as interesting as the bird/art class.

Summer Quarter 2016: Yes, I went to school in the summer. I was down to two part-time jobs now. School in the summer was definitely different. My family and I don’t really go on trips or vacation. What was nice was that there were less people on the campus. It was a bit quieter and more relaxed.

Something weird also happened during this quarter, something that had never happened to me before. I mentioned before that I didn’t have any friends in college. Throughout this entire time I never connected with anyone or was seeking out friends and I didn’t really have a lot of time for a social life. That might sound weird to you or maybe not but I don’t reach out to people unless I have to in a class discussion, or if I missed something in the lecture, or if they strike up a conversation with me. There were people I grew comfortable around but I never had any long term-ish friendships.

Anyway, in one of my classes, there was this guy who contacted me about homework and what not and then he wanted to talk some more. He asked for my number and again, can’t stress this enough, I had never been in this situation before.

Never dated. Had maybe one crush on a guy in high school but never acted on it, and that was it.

So, because I had the option of blocking him if he got weird or what not, I gave him my number. We started talking but the weird thing was we never and I mean NEVER talked in person, like if we were waiting for class to start. It was SO awkward. I didn’t know what to say to him in person and he appeared to feel the same way because he never reached out to me and started talking. But anyway, he ended up asking me if I wanted to hang out after class (through text). I wasn’t sure why? I had never had a guy interested in me before. If that was his of asking me out, then I wish he had been a bit more direct.

Since I had never been in this situation before I talked with my mom about it. And she and my dad (and older sister who “overheard” the conversation), said that if I didn’t feel comfortable about seeing him outside of class then I should say no. I was uncomfortable. I ended up messaging him and telling him just that. Never heard or got a reply. It was close to the end of the quarter and he didn’t come to class, if I recall. Maybe he did once at the end of the quarter, but I didn’t approach him. Maybe I hurt him? I don’t know.

And thus ended my odd summer.

Fall Quarter 2016: The fall involved me beginning the Graphic img_3082.jpgDesign and Digital Design courses. Each was a sort of intro class and all three of my classes were in the same room in the art building. To summarize that quarter, I enjoyed the Graphic Design class but once the quarter was almost over, I came to realize it just wasn’t for me.

As for Digital Design, I LOVED IT!!!! We learned how to use Adobe programs and this 3D creation program where we created creatures, settings, and learned how to texture them and add lighting. It was soooooo much fun! For my final project I made this dragon creature. He’s called Hercules 🙂IMG_1987.jpgAfter talking with my adviser near the end of the quarter, I decided to drop the Graphic Design plan and focus on the AA and the Digital Design.

I was still holding two part-time jobs.

Winter Quarter 2017: Over December and through January, I reconnected with a high school friend who was doing the running start program the college offered high school students. We talked more (messaging and in person) and hung out. Being with him made we realize a few things.

  1. Wow, I missed having friends.
  2. My life was a bit lonely (socially).
  3. It was nice to relax and not always things about school, work, and writing.

During this quarter also, I experienced a class that officially became my least favorite. It was Sociology. Now, I believe it’s an important topic but I have never been so down, sad, and miserable about the things we were learning about.

I remember this one time we were learning about the reality of where our meat comes from (I already knew). Here’s the thing. I’m a vegetarian. I grew up in an Adventist family, but over time my family started to eat meat but I remained a vegetarian. I just didn’t like the idea of eating something that once had a heartbeat. Anyway, my professor showed us a movie about where meat comes from and there was this part where they showed the chickens. It was a small farm and the family was handling the chickens, and they put them in this sort of hammock and slit their throats. Honestly, I started crying. We own chickens and I used to have some that I “raised” from just little chicks. It just broke my heart.

Another thing you should know about me is that I was mainly an optimistic person. But taking that class just shattered my hope and my belief in the world. I was very happy when the quarter was over.

Spring–Fall Quarter 2017: Not much else had changed in my school/work life, aside from the different classes. Things between that high school guy and I changed. We started dating and ultimately become boyfriend and girlfriend. That was definitely a new experience and one I will always cherish.

Also, in the Fall Quarter, I met this other guy who was the opposite of my personality but we had a lot in common. He came to observe the art class I was in – he knew the teacher and was curious about the class. I had no problem talking to him. He asked for my number and I strangely gave it to him (he knew I was in a relationship). We hung out a couple of times; he seemed like a potential friend.

But during those few quarters I had to start thing about what was going to come next.IMG_6463.jpg

I have a plan. During the 2018-19 school year, I’ll be in a study abroad program. As to where I am going, I will announce that once everything is final. But for part of the summer I visited a couple of art schools that I was interested in attending in the fall of 2019. So, a career path was slowly shaping itself.

Being someone who likes to think ahead at least a year or two, I tried to figure in my boyfriend. He’d be going off to a university in the fall of 2018 and I’d be going out of the country. We didn’t want to do long distance, so we ended up breaking up in January.

Winter Quarter 2018: And here we are. My final quarter. This quarter was definitely memorable in a good and bad way. It started with the break up, and since it was my first, I sort of shut down around people, which included that one guy I gave my number to a few paragraphs up. I ended the friendship. I was seriously in a bad, bad place. I threw myself into school and work. I had a final project and portfolio to create for my Digital Design certificate. I had one final class to take to get my AA, and one final class for the certificate.

I was so thankful that I had at least one art class. Art has always been a way for me to escape reality and it definitely helped me as I went through this bad time.

In the art class, my 2 classmates and I did a group project and this is the sculpture we built. It’s called “Carving the Path.” The wooden figure is life-size. It took about 2 months, maybe less, but it was so much fun.

An added bonus with my art class was that we were able to go to Seattle to pick up some art pieces that would be set up in the gallery in our art building. We were shown how to package up the art and how to display it. I have to say, I did not realize how much thought went into displaying pieces in a gallery. It’s a bit overwhelming.

I finished my portfolio, so all that was left at the end of this quarter was a final test and my final project for the art class. For the project I decided to do a giant charm bracelet with life-size representations of my favorite books. Each book is a piece of wood and I painted the covers.

I am honored and proud to have this, plus a couple of other pieces I did shown in a student art show this coming spring. I am also excited to see the other pieces that the other students have created.

March 21, 2018

Within these three years, I think I’ve learned more about myself then all my years combined at the private school. As someone who tends to follow and mimic others, I was put in a situation where I had no one to look to. I learned who the type of person I was without the influence of others (whether they were good or bad). My self-confidence increased a bit. I learned to form my own opinions and be open-minded. I learned how to be independent and do things without always needing the opinions of others. I learned to trust my gut and listen to my conscience.

I will never forget the life I had in community college, with all its up’s and down’s and twist and turns. I learned a lot, and that was the goal (aside from the degree and certificate).

I’m looking forward to what’s coming next:)

3 thoughts on “My Life in Community College

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Hope. Figuring your own self out (speaking from experience) is tough, and you’re way ahead of most people.

    The art you have created is just … wow. That charm bracelet ❤️❤️❤️❤️ What bookworm wouldn’t love that??

    And the “Carving the Path” sculpture is inspirational. What a piece. Congrats to you and your classmates. It is so evocative of the human spirit. Will it be displayed at your college?

    You are a determined and hard-working young woman. I’m honoured you’ve shared your writing with me. And I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. 😀😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope

      Thank you, Meghan:) That means a lot!
      I had a lot of fun with the charm bracelet:)
      The class project is currently displayed at my college – in the main lobby of the art center.

      Thanks again! I am really glad I shared my writing with you, too. And I’m happy that you shared yours with me:)

      Liked by 1 person

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