From the Ask Isa inbox:
I feel like community college is going to be the end of the world and that I'm missing out life. I'm so worried because my best friends are going away and I'm stuck at home going to community college because of money issues.
I'm trying to look on the bright side but its a little hard. Like its going to be so difficult I feel like meeting new people, parties, and just finding new and different opportunities. Basically, that it is definitely going to be a different ballgame.
Worried Future Student
Dear Worried Future Student,
You are the reason this blog exists.
You are the reason I did the video "Community college isn't 13th grade" (which is my most viewed one, by the way).
Because I know your story. It's my story too.
When I started community college I literally cried in the advising office. Bawled my eyes out. Hid in a corner so no one would see.
Because, like you, I literally felt like it was the end of the world. I felt like I couldn't see where my life was going, and that maybe it wasn't going anywhere.
My friends were all off at big football-focused public universities or small fancy private schools.
And, because of money, I was still 15 minutes away from home. I went to class. And then I went home. I went to class, and then I went home.
But then - someone in a class invited me to a club meeting.
I went to the meeting.
I became an officer.
I kept coming to meetings.
I eventually became president.
The single best advice I can give you right now (aside from reading my book! ;)) is to join a club at your community college.
Look on your CC's website right now and try to find a "student life" or "campus life" page and see if the clubs and club contact information are listed. If not, find the e-mail or phone number for the student activities office and go meet with the director ASAP.
When you meet, be honest with him or her just as you have been with me. Express your fears, and ask for advice. Share your interests and ask about the most active clubs on campus. Ask about open officer positions. And then JUMP in.
Attend meetings. Get to know the current officers. Express your desire to get involved.
The single best way to build a community at your community college is to get involved in a club. If you don't click with any active on campus, start your own.
This is the best way to find friends, plan parties and events on campus, build valuable resume experience, and have a great time. Community college can offer a TON of rich experiences (many also offer study abroad which I highly recommend) but it's up to YOU to seek those opportunities out.
They are there, but they won't hold your hand and drag you to them. You have to get involved, meet lots of people, and not give up.
Most of all, never just go to class and go home. Make your college your community. Get to know it. Visit all the resources (tutoring, career center, library, student life office, etc.) and invest in a club you really care about.
If I could have told my crying-self something all those years ago I would have told her this:
It's not the end of the world. It's only the beginning. And where you go to college doesn't matter as much as the effort you put into it. Make this the best time of your life, and make the most of this opportunity. It's one many never even get.
Community college changed my life. It opened up SO many new and exciting opportunities (I went on my first airplane for a community college trip), and it can do the same for you. It's just up to you to go for it and grab them. Get out of your comfort zone. And meet LOTS of people.
Opportunities happen through relationships. (And for tips on how to build those relationships check out my book.)
Good luck and continue to check this blog and my YouTube channel for advice as you continue your journey.
I have a lot of faith in you. Reaching out to this blog and taking action to ask for advice says A LOT of good things about you. You have what it takes to make this experience life changing. Go for it. I believe in you.