Going to college wasn’t an option for me; It was my way out.
My strict, old-fashioned, Puerto Rican parents always instilled in my sister and me that college was the gateway to a better future—and a better life than they had lived. They were some of the most hard-working people I have ever known, but the money they earned was to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Needless to say, they hadn’t budgeted for college. So when I started calculating room and board, books, lab fees and tuition costs, I quickly grew worried that, although I knew college was a must, it certainly wasn’t within reach.
Fortunately, my grades were good and my high school counselor talked to me about AP and dual enrollment options at a nearby community college. This meant that as I finished up my high school requirements I could also work toward my first two years of college credits. The community college was an easy transition from high school because of its small class sizes and accessible faculty. And thanks to an agreement between the high school and the community college, my parents didn’t have to worry about the costs as long as I kept my grades up.
After finishing my first two years at the community college, I was able to successfully transfer every college credit to my school of choice, the University of Florida (www.ufl.edu), where I graduated two years later with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications.
Although I did well in college, math was never my strongest subject. I guess that’s why I became an editor. But I did learn one equation that made college a possibility. 2 plus 2 can equal a degree if you lean on the experts, plan for the expenses, transfer college credits and work hard.
Best of luck in your transfer.
Enid Arbelo Bryant is a freelance writer in Rochester, N.Y. Her mistakes are your good fortune, as she recalls her college years and what she wishes she knew then.