I'm 25 and I'm currently going back to school after nearly 4 years since dropping out. My first semester starts tuesday. I was a very poor student and drastic under-achiever and slacker all my life. From grade school on up to my first attempt at college, I was ignorant, hated school, and did a pathetic job academically. Education was not a virtue or value that I held.
I went to a local run of the mill state university after HS, mostly due to lack of other options. I did poorly, never studied, skipped class half the time, and ultimately failed. I spent 3 years there and retook the same classes over. I was placed on academic probation, then eventually, suspension. I returned after my semester off for one more semester before quitting for good.
I had an epiphany about two years ago where I completely changed my mindset and began to value my education. A chain of provocative events caused me to acquire a burning desire for education, therefore my values concerning it were turned 180 degrees. I now had a renewed appreciation for science, knowledge, reason, understanding, and excercising my mind.
So here I am, wanting so strongly to go get my education. But I'm afraid the college system just isn't very forgiving to academic infidels like me. My past speaks volumes about me, so going back to school won't be as simple as signing up. Before, when I went to college, I was ignorant and didn't research schools to find the right one for me. I just chose the closest one to home and was done with it. So, I chose not to return to my previous school this time. Instead I researched the top community colleges in my state, and choose the best one I could find. I figured, to accomplish my goals I'll have to start small.
My community college is geared for students looking to transfer to 4-year universities. I'm from Tennessee, and it uses a transfer pathway program for our state where all my credits will transfer seamlessly as a junior to a participating 4-year school. On the list of participating schools is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, so that's where I'm planning to go. The school I most want to go to, Vanderbilt, is not on the list. I'd really love to go to Vandy, but no matter what I do now, they wouldn't touch me with a 39.5' pole. So I'll have to settle for a sub-standard school like UT.
I plan to double-major in mechanical engineering and physics when I go to UT. The engineering portion will be useful for jobs, and the physics portion might give me the option to go to grad school for physics like I've always wanted to do. That might make going to Vanderbilt possible as I might can get my graduate degree(s) from there. I DO plan to make straight As from here on out. But I'm not holding my breath.
So I guess that leads me to the punchline. Right now I'm sort of grappling with the thought that maybe I'm not smart enough to do all this, that there's a reason I'm being relegated to community college, and perhaps I should just get my community college degree and be happy I achieved something beyond high school at all. There's a reason they don't let stupid people like me into schools like Vanderbilt. Community college is for those who failed at life and have no other options. I guess I fit that description. So maybe the route of higher education is not for me. I've always been on the stupid side. Who's to say I'm not still on it?
Whatever the case, I hope it becomes clear soon. I certainly don't want to waste mine or anyone else's time.