Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    An unexpected path

    Community college made my dream possible

    Sydney Toth/Staff Writer

    Growing up, I was told that to fit the mold for a “perfect” life I must attend a four year college straight after high school.

    I was told work hard, get good grades and graduate with an acceptance letter from a prestigious college.

    I saw no other option for myself, and I walked around with the mentality that anything less would be considered a failure. Not only was this immense pressure coming from myself, but it was also coming from my family, teachers and peers.

    I remember getting lectured about the importance of college, and how without access to higher education we would never find stability.

    Once high school came around, life did what it does best and hit me hard. I was struggling with family-related pain, and my mental health started to deteriorate.

    I didn’t realize how much depression and anxiety was taking a toll on me until one of my teachers disclosed that I was performing poorly in her class.

    My grades were slipping, I was overworking myself at my job, and it felt as if everything around me was crumbling. I saw my shot at “perfect” slowly begin to drift away.

    Then during spring break, my mom, brother and I took a trip to visit colleges. None of the schools felt like a “home” to me until I took that first step on the Loyola Marymount University campus in Los Angeles. People talk about the magic of finding your perfect fit, and in that moment I felt it rush over me.

    I returned with a newfound sense of motivation to fight for this acceptance letter to LMU, even if it meant considering an alternate path to get there.

    After multiple meetings with my counselors, I decided to enroll at a community college.

    But I felt the stigma from the narrative I had heard my entire life — community college was the “easy way out.”

    I enrolled at Berkeley City College with trepidation, hoping that people around me would not see me as less.

    However, within the last year I have been pushed both intellectually and emotionally. I have made profound connections with professors and have met classmates that I now call my best friends.

    Most importantly, I write this having received an acceptance letter and having committed to Loyola Marymount University for the Fall 2019 semester.

    I’m reminding you that attending a four-year university straight out of high school is not the only path you can take.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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