It's that time of year again where recent high school graduates are opening up a new chapter in their lives. That chapter may be going to college, trade school, or just getting a full-time job and making a career out of it.
I will be attending University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff this Fall majoring in Nursing and Chemistry. I'm was excited about school already, but I'm even more excited now that I've attended orientation. Attending orientation opened my eyes a lot.
On June 30, 2017, I attended Freshmen Orientation. I traveled all the way to Pine Bluff, Arkansas from Mobile, Alabama, which is almost 8 hours away. I was super nervous about being far away from home. When orientation started, I learned more and more about my illustrious university. What really got my attention was that my campus is an open community which means anyone could just walk on to campus grounds, which worried me at first. They went into further details about security and campus police. There is always one near each corner of campus and one riding around on campus. That eased my mind a lot.
Financial Aid is a different story. Being an "out-of-state student" is super expensive, especially when you received little to no scholarship. It gets even more stressful when financial aid doesn't cover everything; I felt like I had to make "life or death" decisions. When I spoke with my Financial Aid advisor, she told me my options: to take out a Parent Plus Loan, to take out Private Student Loans or to make a Payment Plan. It was a hard decision to make. I didn't want to put a financial burden on my parents, I didn't want to be in student loan debt , and I didn't want to do a payment plan and have to worry about my tuition. My mom and I decided that we would do the Parent Plus Loan. I promised her she wouldn't have to worry about paying it back because I would.
Scheduling classes and meeting my Academic Advisor was even more exciting. As I got to meet my advisor, I was even more comfortable with coming to the university. I didn't expect for her to be so laid back and interact with me the way she did. She even interacted with my mom! As she asked me what classes I wanted I realized that it's getting real. My classes are super easy this semester and I'm determined to have a 4.0 at the end of the semester and every semester after.
All in all, I'm excited to be able to attend such an AMAZING university. I'm an young adult now and I get to turn nothing into something. I hope everyone that's in the Class of 2021 has a prosperous year.
Lead Image Credit: Kierra Brown