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Why Community College was a Perfect Fit for Me

Why Community College was a Perfect Fit for Me

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Faviolanny Rath, an alumna of the Beta Tau Alpha Chapter at Long Beach City College in California.

In high school, I barely gave any thought to what I would do immediately after I graduated. I knew that I wanted to go to college and be something big; however, the ambition just wasn’t there.

Since my parents didn’t go to college, the only goal I really had was to do better than them. And since they never attended college or knew anything about it, I didn’t have any guidance back at home.

If I didn’t have a reason for myself, then what would be the point of attending college? It wasn’t until I saw a flyer at my high school’s career center, which said upon attending Long Beach City College, my first semester’s tuition would be paid for. And even though the other students felt they had worked too hard to attend a community college, I felt it was the perfect decision for me.

Factors I Considered: Money, Proximity, and Community

Coming from a low-income family, the first thing I considered was money. I would save money by living at home, working over the summer, and taking public transportation. I did the math for all the schools that I received acceptances to and, of course, going to community college was ideal for me.

Long Beach City College was offering a tuition-free semester upon mutual acceptance. Since I was (and currently still am) a financial aid recipient, I received extra money that allowed me to quit my job if juggling work and academia became too difficult.

Proximity was also important to me. I wasn’t ready to leave my family, and they weren’t ready for me to leave either. I had to think about how I’d receive physical and emotional support from them. Unfortunately, they do not have the flexibility of calling off work to visit me or the spending money to purchase a plane ticket.

Finally, and, in my humble opinion, the most important thing I considered was community.

Many students are pressured to attend top colleges without learning about the communities those colleges encompass. At Long Beach City College, I knew there was going to be diversity in races, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, age—you name it. The classroom sizes were smaller, so every teacher knew my name and when I was absent.

I immediately bonded with people who were in the same clubs and programs as me. If my peers and I differed in our roots, we found unity in our goals; and if we differed in our goals, then our roots brought us back together.

Even now, I could always rely on the unconditional support from my peers, professors, and administration. Long Beach City College was and still is my family. They taught me how to fly, and I ended up landing in the university I attend today, the University of California, Berkeley.

Transitioning from Community to Competition

When I received my acceptance to the “number one public university in the world,” how could I say no? I knew things would be different, but I believed I could get through by using the same study habits and utilizing the abundance of resources the university had to offer.

I won’t lie; transitioning was tough. No one knew me or my story. But I soon found a (small) community and a pool of friends who I would find comfort in, even if it’s not as holistic as I’m accustomed to.

I am proud to be a part of this community that strives to change the world for the better. The university experience has been more competitive than I thought, but I credit the experiences I’ve had here because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. I met fierce, zealous, and ridiculously smart individuals who have pushed, inspired, and empowered me to never settle for less.

What will you decide?

My advice to anyone who is making college decisions—visit the campuses, find an opportunity that will allow you to mingle with other prospective students, and look beyond the school’s reputation to ensure it’s a good fit.

Consider things like how the staff will support you. Ask questions: Is there a balance between meeting people who are like-minded and meeting people who will change your perspectives? Will you feel like you have a healthy relationship with your campus?

It doesn't need to feel like home, per se, but it should make you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. Having that sense of home at my community college is really what gets me feeling like I can do anything, and that's what Long Beach City College did for me.

Faviolanny Rath is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in psychology. She blogs and shares tips on travel via social media.

Like what you read? Share, like, and comment. Follow Faviolanny on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram, or reach out to her at:

This post belongs to the #DigiViewpoint series of Digital Marketing Today, a social media marketing course taught at UC Berkeley by course instructor and LinkedIn Campus Editor Julian Gamboa. #StudentVoices #TheDecision

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