Melinda Dome/Collegian
Melinda Dome/Collegian

By Kara Gale

In a few short months, I am going to be graduating from Hutchinson Community College.

This means that everyone who knows me is asking the same question, “What school will you be transferring to in the fall?”

I don’t really like this question. Sometimes I feel awkward explaining that I’ve decided not to transfer anywhere, at least not right away.

But even more so, I dislike the fact that everyone seems to assume that a fairly good student such as myself has to go to a four-year university and get a bachelor’s degree.

Don’t get me wrong, college is a great thing. Getting through four more vigorous years of school is an accomplishment. But it isn’t for everyone.

There have been a lot of times in the past two years that college has felt like a safety blanket to me. “Student” is a fallback status to me.

In my mind, as long as I’m going to school, it’s OK if I’m not working a lot or feel like I’m spending more time doing homework than something I really enjoy.

I have always wanted to write, and it’s a lot easier to put off while I’m taking classes. Once I finish up school, though, real life hits.

Few 18-year-olds know what they want to do with their lives, and I was no exception.

I did know that I loved traveling and considered taking a year to do that, but despite that I still ended up at HCC that fall. I am graduating now, and can pursue other goals.

I don’t regret coming here. I’ve made some great friends. I was even still able to travel over the summer.

However, still not knowing what I want to do has helped me decide that spending two more years in school is not the wisest thing for me to do.

Part of that is, of course, financial, because higher levels of education can be expensive.

But the other part is that I would rather learn from living, not from sitting in a classroom.

I remember feeling a lot of pressure to go to college two years ago, and to a certain extent am feeling similar things now.

But deciding to do something just because that’s the normal path that people follow doesn’t feel like much of a decision to me.

No longer being in school will take a load of stress off of me and give me time to pursue my dreams.

If, after a year, I decide to go back to school, then great. I can pursue a degree that will benefit me in the long run.

I want to spend my life doing what I love, not what other people think is the way I should spend my time.

Four or more years of college may be an excellent choice for many, if that is what you want.

However, personal goals do not always need to conform to what everyone else does. Be your own individual and pursue your own career.

I want to pursue things that I am passionate about, rather than settling for an average life.

My encouragement to you is to do the same. Don’t let people shoot down your dreams.

Stepping out into the unknown can be scary, but that is when you learn the most.

Don’t settle for an ordinary life, because you were made for so much more than that.

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