So three years later and college is not everything it’s expected to be, well in many ways. In many ways it is, but everyone’s college experience doesn’t always meet the stereotype. There will be times for weekend hangouts, greek life rushing, and the occasional all nighter writing an english paper. But there will be the hard times. It is, however, will be the low points in college that will really define your character and give you some perspective. The majority, if not all, of my low points involved finances. Take for example my freshman year.

I just knew, three years ago, I was going to be the student who was involved in everything and made it on the dean’s list. And you know what, I did that. I play intramural sports, I joined Air Force ROTC, earned a 3.5 gpa in an engineering major my first quarter, and still found time to hangout. But second semester came rolling around and boy was I in for a shock.You see first semester classes were a facade of the complications behind college life. I wasn’t aware that my scholarships wouldn’t be enough to cover the next quarter that had hidden science class fees and books that would now cost me anywhere around $300 total. “Oh no worries,” I said, “I’ll just get a job.” Little was I aware that I had missed out on next working my first semester and all the jobs I was qualified for were taken by other students who needed money. Where did that leave me? Making pizzas and sandwiches at the dining hall. But at least I had a job. I also now had classes, like Calculus II, that demanded so many studying hours outside the classroom. Now after spending all night going over countless integrals just to realize I still only have a basic understanding of the material, I have to wake up in three hours for Physical Training.

That second quarter drained all of my energy and my GPA suffered. At the end of everything, I had to take a step back and look at what I could handle. I knew I just could not, keep working so many hours, be heavily involved in extracurriculars, and keep my grades up. But at the same time, I had to pay for college and I didn’t want to miss out on experiences. I felt so overwhelmed and helpless. Even now, I’ll still feel helpless at times. But things seem to work out for those who are willing to continue on. I made up in my mind that I was first to make it to college and I will be the first to finish.

Since then, I’ve been taking chances. Everything in life is not always guaranteed, especially if you have big dreams and aspirations. But I knew I could not get to where I wanted to be, nor stay sane working in the dining hall. So I decided to leave that job and start applying for more scholarships while in college. Making that decision was huge for me because I knew I needed money immediately and funds wouldn’t just fall out of the sky. Most of the scholarships I applied to, I did not win. But I did keep trying and eventually I received one through a local church. And today, I still have hope that doors will open for me. I’m not advocating for everyone reading this to leave their jobs. I am, however, advocating that you decipher what you want and all the avenues that to get you where you want. Being young and in college is the best time to takes those chances before post college responsibilities become a reality (salary based job, marriage, kids, bills, etc.) So what is it that you want? What have you been doing and are those actions creating the results that you desire? Can you do something different? Are you afraid of change and not knowing the end result? The future when it comes to taking chances will never be crystal clear. But you will never know what could have happened with all the opportunities that you did not take advantage of.