As a mother, it feels comfortable to attend community college. Not to say that classes are easy, actually I think they may be more challenging. But rather, community college has a much larger demographic of people “like us.” You know: moms, dads, older students, underrepresented minorities, etc. I think, though that we become comfortable and then it’s difficult to imagine ourselves anywhere else. But community college wasn’t designed to keep a student for 3,4,5 or more years. The main focus of community college is usually to help a student successfully complete their first two years of college, enabling them to transfer to a 4 year institution. However, the idea of transferring may seem out of reach for some of us.
I am here to tell you that YOU are “good enough” to transfer, and 4 year colleges are not out of your reach. You have a good GPA, like the other students trying to transfer…and even if your GPA isn’t impressive, you still have made it through your first 60-something units. Being a mom or older doesn’t make you less worthy of the opportunity to successfully obtain your bachelors degree. In fact, I think the fact that you have made it this far despite your obstacles makes you even more worthy to transfer to the institution you would like to attend.
Has it been a tough first semester for me since transferring? Yes, completely. I was insecure and scared to the point where I just wanted to go back to my “home” school. However, I am just weeks away from completing my first semester and I have 2 solid A’s and 2 high B’s. Considering the circumstances I faced (including a sick husband), I would say it’s been a successful semester. Not only am I doing well, but I finally feel like I belong on campus…like I was meant to be there. I feel ready for next semester which is something I couldn’t have said a year ago.
You see, a year ago I was accepted in to the university I currently attend…and I thought “surely this is a mistake, how could I be good enough?” But sure enough, it wasn’t a mistake and I had to then deal with my own inner demons telling me I wasn’t cut out for the 4 year experience. Why? Because I am a mom? Because I am in my 30’s? Nonsense.
But how do you get past this insecurity? What is it you can do to help yourself overcome your own fears? Here are my suggestions:
1. It has to start from within – It may take telling yourself every day “I am good enough, I am great, I am smart.” No one can change your mind, including yourself, without your consent. Be willing to feel uncomfortable, but be willing to accept recognition.
2. Surround yourself with positive people. You can’t expect yourself to grow in old soil also known as negative influences. Like-minded people who are ambitious will eventually transfer their positive energy to you.
3. Find a mentor. You need someone who knows your field, loves helping students, and is willing to be there to point you in the right direction. This person will not only encourage you through your moments of doubt, but can help with letters of recommendation, and networking opportunities.
4. Visit college campuses, and specifically the campus transfer centers and non-traditional student hangouts…they DO exist! You are trying to imagine a place you have never been! Find a campus that literally “feels” right. It may sound corny, but it’s helpful.
5. Embrace failure. I know that sounds CRAZY, but it’s not. Very seldom have people been successful without failing a few hundred (or thousand) times. Don’t fear failure — you may have a difficult time, but you learn through failure.
6. Live deliberately. Don’t just think of what you want, go out and get it! You have convinced more than a handful of professors that you are capable and now it’s time to take control of your situation. You can’t sit back and wait for good things to happen, you have to go out and capture them by making conscious decisions.
Is transferring difficult? Yes, it can be. But you should know that that difficulty is not something that only nontraditional, older, moms, dad etc. feel, but all types of people struggle with transferring.
The best thing you can do is believe it possible, and it will be!