This week, as I was riding the metro down to work it hit me for the first time that I would not be getting off at “Tenlytown Metro- American University” like I had for the past year. It was a strange feeling but one that was grounded in confidence and peace about God’s will for my life, my finances and academic career.
You see, about a month ago I received a call from my editor, Buena Gente publisher Rosalinda Delgado. She asked the question many people had asked before but it struck me differently this time. “A ti te gusta American University?” (Do you like American University?) she asked skeptically. I gave my usual answer: I don’t love it but I go there to get an education. I don’t have to love it or have 100 friends there. It’s expensive, yes…(35K a year!) but my education is worth it.
What followed were a couple of questions that helped me realize I needed to transfer out of American ASAP before I poured thousands of dollars into my last year. Here is what I came away with after this life-changing conversation:
- I was attending AU to get a degree in Public Communication (basically PR). For what?! To obtain a job in public relations…like the one I already have? Conclusion: Not worth it!
- During my year at AU I had made 3 friends. I am not kidding! and I was not the only one. Almost every commuter student I had met had a hard time socializing on campus. I was complacent about the fact that commuter students like myself should have low expectations about social life at AU, until I had this conversation. Conclusion: College life should be one of the best years of your life. Friends are a key component to that, so why settle for a campus like AU?
- More than ever I am convinced I will pursue journalism and I began to wonder if AU is really the best place for that major. Conclusion: UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND!
So having had all these thoughts run through with my mentors, everyone supported my decision: Drop out of American University. Transfer to the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
Let me tell you, it felt SO good!!! I knew this was the decision I needed to make, even though it may take me an additional semester or two to finish school and all my AU credits won’t transfer. I knew this was ok. After all, I’ll be working for the rest of my life so why not enjoy life as a student for as much as possible.
The savings: more than $15,000 (assuming I’ll be at UMD for 4 semesters)
My new re-directed academic path: Print or Broadcast journalism. Minor in Spanish or Business.
Shady Grove campus vs. College Park? TBD
Finally I want to thank everyone who is supporting me in this. Toni and everyone at the HHF, it’s a joy to work with you all! Don and Mitzie, you are the best grandparents I never had. JR, Mami and all my friends, I love you so much for cheering me on!