Leacy Heap headshot

Aug. 22, 2022, marks the beginning of my third, and hopefully final, year of college, and I have to say I’m still not sold on it. I didn’t want to leave my home and the people I had known for 18 years of my life, and no part of me wants to pay for it. However, for every reason I dislike it, I have one more that makes it worth it.

 

I remember writing my college application essays during my aide period and leaving the secretary’s office because tears started flowing. I don’t cry easily, but the thought of leaving my family and having to start new was not the move I wanted to make, especially when I didn’t see a good reason to go. I was looking for any reason to make the thought of leaving even a little bit worth it. There wasn’t one at the time. 

 

Along with not wanting to say goodbye, I didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars for my education. Would the amount of money spent be worth it, anyway? Prices for groceries, gas, rent and mortgages have gone up, but I can’t say the same for wages for most people. I’m here to learn and get a degree. Colleges are no longer education-focused institutions but profit-motivated organizations, making it harder to want to fall in line. 

 

Truthfully, for as many reasons as I had for not wanting to leave the only home I’ve ever known, I didn’t really have any to stay. My hometown is small, and there wasn’t a career I thought I could do there that didn’t require a degree. It would have been a gamble to stay and hope for the best, even though it can still feel like I’m gambling my odds of success being here anyway. It’s hard to think about being a teacher when the economic reality is they do not get paid nearly as much as they deserve. Even with all this in mind, I don’t want to compromise on something I believe I can be good at just because of the student loans and temporary relocation. 

 

One cookie now, or 20 cookies later? This is the question I’ve been reminding myself of for the past few months. Would you turn down a cookie right now, knowing you could have 20 of them if you waited? The thought of being in my own classroom and being a part of bringing up the next few generations keeps me going. Having no idea what could happen in a year, month, week or day keeps me going. You can bet your bottom dollar that I wake up most days wanting that one cookie, but patience is a virtue, I guess. 

 

Do I regret attending college? Sometimes. Maybe things would have worked out for me if I had stayed, but maybe not. I’ve met some great people here who have become a few of my favorite parts of life. I know more now than I did when I got here - probably not thousands of dollars worth, though - and I’m counting on that piece of paper in May so I can go and put my feet where my heart is.

 

I believe in the institution of college as much as I believe in fish riding bikes. But I’m here, and I’m not even miserable. Is there hope for the future? Always. If I have any advice to offer to those that may feel the same as me or are just not enjoying where they are in general, it would be these three things:

  1. This isn’t forever.

  2. We don’t know everything. 

  3. We make plans, and plans change. 

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