As a 21 year old, I often get asked where I go to College. I could be anywhere and without fail this question always seems to slip out of people’s mouths without even realizing it. The question usually prompts the story of why I am not in College in which said person will ask if I’m going to go back. When I say ‘no’, nine times out of ten I get disapproving looks and remarks. I’m not sure when this stigma behind not going back to College started, but it is time to squash it. Im proud to say I didn’t go back to College and I am loving my adult life!
As a freshman in high school, I started off in a prestigious specialty program for young adults who had an interest in mathematics and science. It was a rigorous program that alluded to the fact that after high school, colleges would be knocking down our doors to get us to consider them. It wasn’t quite as exciting as they had predicted but I did have colleges reaching out to me offering scholarships.
After four years of the draining academic program I made the conscious decision to decline my acceptances to schools like JMU, GMU and CNU. Instead I made a shocking choice in schools. I picked the biggest “party school” in Virginia. I went to Radford University for a full year.
Radford University – Radford, Virginia
Radford was beautiful but it was definitely a social school. At Radford it seemed you were either very religious or you partied and unfortunately, I didn’t fit in. My first year was awful. I had one friend who stuck by me no matter what and that was it. I talked to a few people, but my nights usually consisted of me studying alone for classes I had already taken to get a degree that I didn’t really want. Everything felt so foreign to me and I was having a hard time with the social aspect of college.
After my first semester, I started to have panic attacks. These panic attacks were random and would come whether I was in the commons with hundreds of people or in my room alone. Then, depression started to set in. I was alone and far away from home. I was used to getting lost in my studies but Radford’s academic level was below the specialty center that I had gone to. I was stuck.
After my second semester I decided that maybe I just needed a new college and a new major. I switched from production technology and started looking into horsemanship programs around the country. I eventually found one that I wanted and got into a prestigious horse program in Montana.
It was what I wanted to do, but I still had severe anxiety over going back into a college setting. Montana was a lot farther than Radford, Virginia and I knew I wouldn’t be able to take a day trip to see my family if I went out there. At the last minute, I decided I wasn’t going to Montana. The horse I was supposed to bring ended up getting hurt and for some reason I was relieved I wasn’t going to another college across the country.
I decided college wasn’t for me. It took me a long time to be okay with the fact I wasn’t going back. It also turned out that I didn’t need college to live my dream of training horses. I also got a job working for a Parks and Recreation Department where I teach and get to have fun with people everyday AND get paid! I have a loving family, a house to live in, and a plethora of pets. I absolutely love my life and I wouldn’t change a thing!
If you would like to hear more about my college journey or about my life now, leave a comment!!