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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

With the start of a new school year, and as I enter my last year of college at UC Davis, I find myself thinking a lot about my journey of getting here. When I was in high school, I had a GPA above 4.0, a high SAT score, many extracurricular activities, and was overall well set to start applying to four-year universities alongside my peers. However, I felt unready to move away from home, so I made the decision to start at my local community college after graduation. To me, this seemed like the best idea, but to the people around me, it was the biggest mistake I could make. 

My classmates would ask me, “Sofia, what colleges are you applying to?” I would respond that I was actually going to our local community college. Nine times out of ten they would say something along the lines of, “Oh, I could never go to community college.” Or one time someone said to me, “I would go to community college, but my pride won’t let me.” That person ended up going to the local CSU that was less than an hour away from the community college, where the majority of my graduating class went. When my classmates would say these things to me, I was always so confused. It was not like I was going to community college forever or not planning on going to college at all (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those options) but I was only starting off there to end up at the same schools that they would be at. 

Students were not the only ones that had less than kind things to say about my choice. When I would tell teachers my after-high school plans, they would say things like “But you are so smart,” or just plain ask me “Why would you do that?” One school counselor started pulling up my SAT scores and transcripts, asking me what my financial situation was and trying so hard to figure out what was “wrong” in my life to make me choose a community college. The worst thing that I was told was from another school counselor. They said, “Well, you are going to end up married and pregnant before you graduate from there (community college) and then be stuck here forever.” Meaning that I would meet someone, and throw my whole college plan out the window for them. 

Through all of these pushbacks, I stayed true to myself and what I knew was right for me. I went to community college, got my associate’s degree, and was accepted to all but one of the four-year colleges that I applied to. I chose UC Davis, and I have no regrets at all about my path to get here. Through community college, I was able to save money, move out when I felt ready, and make connections through smaller classes that will help me both academically and professionally. The best part is that at the end of the day I will have a bachelor’s degree from a great school, the same as anyone else, whether they started as a freshman, or transferred in. We need to end the stigma around going to community college and embrace that everyone has a different path in life. Community college was a great experience for me, and I hope that as time goes on schools become more accepting of this path for students.

Sofia Gonzalez is a fourth year student at UC Davis. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in education. When not working on school, she enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and listening to Taylor Swift.