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  • Writer's pictureEmma Nickse

The Story of Why I Did Early College

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another post on the blog. This one is going to be a bit more personal, for many reasons. This is going to be all about how I dropped everything and started something completely new. Well, maybe it’s not THAT dramatic, but it felt that way a couple months in. Today I’m going to be talking to you about Early College, the path I’m taking my Junior and Senior year of high school.

Now you may be wondering, what exactly is Early College? It’s basically a program where me and other likeminded people leave their “old” school, and take all of their classes at the community college for their junior and senior year. So yeah, I’m basically a college student, minus the frat parties and dorm life. However, it is considered an actual college, so my whole schedule is college classes plus a weekly seminar held by our guidance counselor. She’s the most hilarious and relatable teacher I’ve ever met, and she does her best to make us feel right at home.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.

Flashback to Sophomore year at my “old” high school (I say “old” because I am still a student of that school and am very much involved, playing sports and running clubs, honor societies, etc). To put it quite simply, I hated it. I truly wasn’t comfortable with myself/others, since most of the people there were ones I hadn’t seen since elementary school. I went to a different middle school than every single one of them (since I lived in a different zone), and when it came time to reunite with them freshman year, they had already found their friend groups and were basically peas and carrots. So I came in with no one. Don’t get me wrong, everyone was nice to me and all, and I met some truly incredible people along the way. But I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be as close to them as they were to each other, and it wasn’t anything against them. It was how I personally felt, and it didn’t help that I was (and still am) an introvert, and didn’t know how to really communicate my thoughts effectively.

At the same time, the educational aspect was truly stressing me out. Teachers were piling on busy work left and right, and the tests in chemistry and algebra gave me a constant headache. Plus, the teachers were more focused on calming down the crazy kids than teaching the ones who actually cared.

Unless you were in AP.

Which was a whole other problem in itself.

Homework on homework on HOMEWORK on tests on notes on vocabulary. Even though I only had one AP class sophomore year (shoutout to AP World!), I knew in my gut I wouldn’t be able to survive 5 or more APs without some sort of mental breakdown (not saying I don’t in college lol). The year before (freshman year), I didn’t pass the AP Human Geography exam. I didn’t have high hopes about this one, and turns out, I was right. I didn’t pass my sophomore exam. I mean, the reason you take college classes is to get college credit, right? Sure, it LOOKS good on transcripts but in all reality, I didn’t pour my sweat, tears, and hours I could’ve spent sleeping into DBQs just to have something LOOK good on a transcript. Nuh uh honey. I wanted that credit, and by golly, I was going to get it. I was already interested in Dual Enrollment, which means I would take half my classes at school, the other half at college. However, my mother convinced me to go to the presentation about Early College too, just to have all my options considered.

Compared to Dual Enrollment, Early College seemed to have a lot more benefits. For one, you get a lot more done in the shorter amount of time. You stayed in one place the whole day. Actual college classes and books free for two years. Actually earning college credit if you passed the class and the final exam, not the Final Exam. Graduating high school with an AA. MONTH LONG WINTER BREAKS. I was sold. I applied and got accepted, and the best part was that my best friend was going too! I thought I had it made. I wasn’t worried at all, and I spent the last few months waiting for the year to be over.

Then came May, and things took a turn for the worst.

My friend decided they didn’t want to go to the program anymore, and although they had a good reason not to, I was distraught.

Due to my emotions skyrocketing, I didn’t handle it the best way. That left things rocky between us for what seemed like months, which didn’t make things much better. It made me doubt even wanting to go into the program, because it hurt even thinking I wasn’t going to be with this person. I even contemplated doing Dual Enrollment because it hit me that I was really going in without any close friends. Just like last time, I would be in a new place with people I barely knew, and I didn’t think I was ready for that.Â

After what seemed like a week of flurried emotions and confusion, I finally sat back. Took other people out of the equation. And thought about myself. About how, after everything, that God put me in this position for a reason. I thought about how I felt the months prior, and the reasons why I wanted to go in the first place. Then I realized that this was where I was supposed to be, and that the only thing holding me back was my own fears of being alone. Now that I gained that perspective, it felt a bit easier to handle my emotions.

Onto the first day. I instantly regretted the coffee I drank, because it gave me such bad jitters. I felt like I was too young to be there, and that I wouldn’t make any friends here. I was scared of being treated like a college student; what if I wasn’t ready for that responsibility?

Fast forward six months, and I’m onto my second college semester. I have a 3.8 college GPA (don’t take three writing-heavy courses and a math at the same time), and I’m thoroughly involved with my school. My friend and I made up, and our relationship is better than ever (scratch that- they were a sucky person so thankfully they’re out of my life). I made three new friends at college, and become closer to people outside of it. I feel like if I stayed, I would’ve been kidding myself. I know now that God truly led me in the right path by giving me this opportunity, all of the emotions and fears I had were for nothing. Sure, I get overwhelmed sometimes, but that’s college for you.

Thank you so much for hearing this very personal story. Just remember that the people who value you will make you feel valued, even if you aren’t always around them, and that sometimes you have to keep your faith in God, even if you don’t know where to go.

Lots of love! -Em


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