Before I enrolled last fall to become a Redbird at Illinois State University, I was attending a community college. After deciding to move on to a four-year college, many people would say things to me such as, “Why would you give up such cheap tuition to go to a university?” or, “People typically go to a community college for two years, not one.”
I knew most people wouldn’t understand why I would give up practically debt-free college over going to a university, but it was my decision, and I knew I was doing what I ultimately thought was right for myself.
During high school, we as students were repeatedly told that we HAD to know exactly what we were going to do once we graduated from high school (spoiler alert: that’s not true). Me, being the naïve senior that I was, quickly settled upon a random major: elementary education. I didn’t want to be the only person in my graduating class without a major in mind (second spoiler alert: I definitely was NOT alone). I signed up to become a teaching assistant at a nearby elementary school and I decided that teaching was practically the only field that I would be equipped to pursue. I babysat pretty frequently, so clearly I was destined to be the best third grade teacher in the world.
As my time went on helping out as a TA, I began to feel panicked because I realized this wasn’t what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, which is quite a terrifying feeling.
At the beginning of my freshman year of college, I was an elementary education major. Then, I binge-watched "Criminal Minds" for three days straight and wanted to look into forensics. Towards the end of my first semester though, I ultimately felt lost as I decided neither of those was my calling.
The best decision I ever made was going to a school counselor for help.
I decided to be completely real with this counselor and informed them that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing anymore. I felt as if I had no educational path to go down. Everything I chose didn’t seem to choose me in return. The meeting turned sappy, sad and honestly quite embarrassing.
I confessed to the counselor that ever since seeing the movie "13 Going On 30," I wanted to be exactly like Jenna Rink - minus the whole skipping from age 13 to 30 part - and work for a magazine company. The counselor did their magic and poof! Illinois State University’s Mass Media web page came up on the screen in front of me, and as I scanned through the description of said major, I fell in love. After reading through ISU’s Mass Media page multiple times, not only did I find a major that satisfied me wholeheartedly, but I also stumbled across the perfect school to help advance my college career.
This past year has been filled with many ups and downs regarding my decision to leave after only one year of schooling at a community college, and quite honestly, my fear of the unknown. Becoming a Redbird was not originally the journey I intended to embark upon at the beginning of my college career, but with how dynamic and compelling my Mass Media program is, not to mention how many friendships and opportunities I’ve been able to experience while living on campus for only two weeks, Illinois State has been the most exciting turning point that I could have ever imagined.