Often we hear people shun community colleges, but like many things in life, you never know the true value of something until you experience it yourself.
Normally, one hopes to transfer from a two-year community college to a four-year university and attain their degree in a four-year time frame. For me, that was a dream that I accepted would never become a reality.
In August 2013, after finishing high school, I attended California State University, Northridge (CSUN).
I ignored all the “you’ll regret that” comments from friends, as they packed their bags to attend the various UC’s and CSU’s.
I never understood the staunch criticisms made by people my age regarding CSUN, but it only took me a week to find out.
With such a large campus, I felt overwhelmed, lost and merely a number in the middle of a huge crowd. In a class of over 200 students, it was difficult to connect with the professor and have your voice and ideas heard. It made me question the system and wonder why people would pay more money for larger classes and professors with less time to devote to you.
If you weren’t part of a sorority or a fraternity, you didn’t really have a social status on campus. After three semesters, I felt lost in such a large university setting that seemed to have no time for its students.
I started attending Pierce in February 2015, and feel like a valued individual with a voice, a vote and a say in how the campus is run. I have classes with less than 40 students and the professors have the time and ability to review, help and teach in a timely and understandable manner.
The Pierce campus feels like a home away from home as opposed to CSUN, which felt like a heated concrete jungle in the valley. Also, the $100 difference in parking pass prices between Pierce and CSUN is easy to appreciate.
Pierce is a newfound home I welcome with open arms.
The smoking ban also shows that Pierce cares about the health of its students and the smaller campus means more familiar faces.
At CSUN, I was one of several students incapable of getting the journalism classes necessary to graduate, and this resulted in me taking ridiculously-priced GE classes that I could have taken elsewhere for an eighth of the price. The application process was simple and anyone could sign up, log in and add whatever classes they want.
Thankfully, the absences of classes at Northridge led me to Pierce. While moving from a 4-year to a 2-year seemed like a daunting experience at one point, it has been one of the most eye-opening and happy experiences of my student life.