How to Make the Most Out of Community College

How to Make the Most Out of Community College

We think Sparkler BeauYouKnow deserves a full ride to NYU. (Yes, NYU, so she can stop by and say hi!) —SparkNotes editors

I am, and always have been, an excellent student: I've conquered AP and Honors courses, been in clubs, tutored kids at a local junior high, and more. Yet I knew I was going to a community college when I graduated.

My family makes just enough money for me not to qualify for financial aid, and I didn’t take quuuiiiiiiite enough AP History classes (I stuck to advanced English and math courses) to beat out super overachievers in my grade for scholarships. Luckily, my town has an excellent community college, and I plan to transfer to a four-year after two years.

Most of my friends, however, were admitted into fantastic schools—they go to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, and other far-away, amazing places. But you won't find me down in the dumps for missing out on the traditional "college experience." I think living at home can actually be pretty sweet if you know how to take advantage of it:

1. Use the fitness center.
My school has a fitness center with cardio machines and weights, and it’s all free if you are a student. It’s like having your own gym membership without the fees. My best friend and I often meet up and work out together. And since community college is small, that cute guy from your English class can admire you sweating intensely on the elliptical trainer while you listen to your iPod and pretend to be on American Idol. (If he didn’t want to sit next to you before, he’ll DEFINITELY stay away now.)

2. Make things for your away-friends with your extra time.
I make cute letters and videos for my friends. Also, taking the time to Skype with friends means I can hear about their daily lives, and that makes them seem close. Of course you can also use the distance to your advantage: mess with your friends by leaving them voicemails in which you suddenly scream that James Franco rang the doorbell and asked for help for taking off his shirt so he can fix his carburetor ...gets ‘em every time.

3. Explore your hometown.
I've never really explored my area—we have many bordering small towns that I’ve only ever driven through, without stopping to look around. My New Year’s resolution is to explore these places and find some hidden treasures in my own backyard. Then I will take my friends visiting home for a weekend on a tour of their own hometown to see all the cool things I discovered! (I'll try to feign surprise when they say they've never been to the old abandoned railroad car where all the hip kids go to dance to the new Lady Gaga track).

4. Take day trips, overnight trips—any kind of trips, really!
Since I have small classes, and my teachers know me personally, it’s easy to just email them and give them a heads up that I’m going to miss class. I skipped the last whole week before finals to fly to New York (I live in California), but all my teachers let me turn in papers after I returned, or told me what I had missed and how to teach myself from of the textbook. Since I wasn’t spending thousands of dollars per semester, I didn’t feel as bad for missing a few days of school, and I had one of the best experiences of my life.

5. Take advantage of your alone time.
Call me crazy, but the prospect of moving in with a stranger who talks constantly about NOTHING, dealing with those obnoxious PARTIERS (don’t they have class in the morning?!) and bathing in community showers (who thought THAT was a good idea?) just doesn’t appeal to me all that much. Handling all this while doing my own laundry, making my own food and living on my own? Please! Why bother with such hardships when you can live in the comfort of your own home, commute to school, and not have to worry about sitting in your room in your underwear (since you don’t have a roommate); or, for that matter, feel embarrassed about drinking your FOURTH YooHoo before breakfast?

6. Let mom and dad pay.
My parents pay for my gas, car, food and lodging. I get more freedom than I did in high school, and I can enjoy it without having to cope with those “poor college kid blues.” And instead of Top Ramen every night, my mom prepares a delicious and nutritious home cooked meal (did I mention it's FREE?)

Have hope, community collegers! It’s really not that bad. Guess what, I don’t even LIKE parties, so take THAT, dorm-life! (I don’t sound bitter, do I?)

Are you thinking about community college?

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Topics: School
Tags: sparkler posts, college, community college

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