‘College’ through the eyes of an indecisive senior


From writing essays, to completing applications, to opening decision letters and finally committing May 1, some seniors have prepared for college their whole lives. But some are just learning as they go. Photo by Gül Işık from Pexels.

What’s it like waking up at 7:30 a.m. as a senior who didn’t truly have a plan? I’ll sum it up. For me, waking up every day since Nov. 30 felt as if I had to choose between swimming in a pool of alligators or going through a hallway filled with deadly spiders. The overwhelming beating of my heart pulsed through my body and into my ears, all the way down to my feet. Anxiety rose each second my eyes were open. The cause? College.

Just the thought of the word “college” brought doubt into my mind. Constant what if’s and I could have’s; What if my essays weren’t good enough? I could have applied to more colleges. What if I accidentally typed misinformation into my application? I could have triple-checked my CSU applications. On and on, I never stopped thinking about the chance of my life taking a wrong turn after application deadlines. 

Hearing from friends and classmates about their preferred colleges, what majors they were considering, life after college and all the things I believed a forthcoming adult should think about on a daily basis – it was overwhelming. Then, going home with the guilty feeling of “I don’t really know what I’m doing” weighed heavy on my shoulders. Especially when I had no one at home to truly help guide me.

Coming from an immigrant family, my parents never got to experience what it was like to go through the process of choosing schools, writing college essays, committing to a school and experiencing college life. Questions I had were always left unanswered. 

My parents never put any pressure on me to go to a “good” college because they didn’t know of any. I was glad that they hadn’t pushed all the excessive stress onto me; however, a small part of me wished they did so I could’ve had hopes of attending one. I was the eldest daughter of my family of five, so it was up to me to branch out on my own. High schoolers are usually prompted to start searching for colleges and to participate in college tours as it nears time to choose schools, but I was so busy enjoying my last two youth years that I simply ignored the fact my last year was approaching steadily. I’ve always done things alone, and so I thought I could handle all of my struggles alone, too. 

The only aspect of my life I was sure of was that I wanted to contribute to the lives of others because I’ve always loved being able to help people. I wasn’t much of a problem-solver, but I tried my best to at least be emotionally supportive to those who need it. After my youngest sibling was born, I knew I wanted to specialize in a field where I could work with children. Nursing wasn’t my first choice, but it gave me options, and I believed it could be the opportunity of a lifetime.

I didn’t have a dream school like many other teenagers. I had the choice between attending any college in California versus attending the best school in the Philippines. I was lucky to have support from both my parents, who promised to back me up no matter where I choose. But they did cross their fingers – extra hard – for me to choose De La Salle University, one of the best colleges in the Philippines for medical majors. 

Once decisions rolled out in March, I truly had no expectations. I wasn’t ecstatic about my results, but I also wasn’t devastated. The one school that stood out to me was Chico State University – it was close to my family and had a great nursing program. However, my main concern was how I would be able to handle financial issues. I still had two younger siblings who would also attend college; my brother would begin attending his school of choice once I received my undergraduate diploma, and my sister still has a decade until she’d have to attend college. 

I consider myself a realist and I stubbornly stick with my beliefs. And what I believed was that it was alright for those who I care about to come before me. My process of choosing what college to commit to was based on how I could help support my family, and what the fastest way was for me to pay them back. Although, that’s just what I believe was best for them

College commitment is a unique experience for all graduating seniors, and it should be solely based on what’s best for you

Up until these final weeks of April, and right around the corner of decision day on May 1, I finally decided to go to Sierra College. Although I thought of the possibilities of my life at a four-year university, I wanted to take the opportunity of saving two years worth of tuition and transferring to a larger university after. It would help my family and I save up for not just the rest of my education, but also for my siblings’. 

Community colleges are often looked down upon. There is a stigma towards them being the lowest version of schooling. However, they are just like any other universities. They have a campus and professors. They have dining halls and course catalogs, and opportunities to get involved outside the classroom. Though the on-campus experience might look a little different, education-wise, we’re all learning the same, and we’ll all graduate the same. It’s just a matter of what your priorities are. Think about what’s best for you.