When deciding what college to attend for continued education, students ask themselves many questions. But the truth is that an institution’s reputation takes precedence over the opportunities that may be available for the student. My journey was a clear representation of this.
Following high school graduation in 2018, many of my peers were enrolled and planning to attend Bakersfield College, but I refused to apply because I felt that attending a community college meant that I was less intelligent than other students.
During that time, I decided to continue my education at Cal State Bakersfield and quickly became dissatisfied with the major I was enrolled in. I was working toward a kinesiology degree, working a full-time job and trying to figure out my next steps in life without much guidance.
My grades began to decline rapidly and I ended up being put on academic probation due to my low GPA. During this time, I decided to switch to an online environment at the University of Arizona. I thought this would finally help me get on track with my education, but that was furthest from the truth. I switched my major more than four times between the two institutions, only to lose my financial aid after my GPA dropped below a 2.0.
After believing that I wasn't "made" for school, reinforced by my slipping grades, I dropped out in 2020 and decided to open a small business. Though this opportunity was one that taught me a lot about the world of business, I found myself yearning for more and that just wasn’t it.
In my first full time semester at Bakersfield College, I enrolled as a journalism major, and decided to be part of the school newspaper known as the Renegade Rip. At the time, I did not realize how beneficial this hands-on course would be for future employment.
In my first semester at Bakersfield College, I earned a 4.0 semester GPA and received my financial aid again. I also met one of my counselors, Keri Kennedy, who guided me through the process of transferring courses from my previous institutions.
BC began to give me hope after many failures and personal life circumstances that impacted my journey in the past.
In my most recent semester, I was hired for my first-ever writing job. I currently work as a marketing writer in the marketing department at Bakersfield College. My manager, Monika Scott, has supported me as a student and employee, and given me the opportunity to gain experience as a writer and further my skills for future opportunities. In addition, I earned a journalism scholarship and was offered the chance to join the Psi Beta Kappa honor society. These are a few accomplishments I had never imagined.
The success didn’t end there. After two months of employment with Bakersfield College, I recently applied for an internship with a local news station for a summer position, and ended up being considered for a full-time permanent position. Last Friday, I received the opportunity to join their team full-time while I finish my last semester at Bakersfield College in the fall of 2023.
The research and data are out there to prove that college is worth it. Today’s labor market increasingly rewards highly educated workers and those with degrees and certificates, but I’m here to share that the college experience as a whole is what you put into it.
To get the most out of your college experience, I highly recommend attending a community college. You won’t regret it when you get that job offer you’ve always dreamed of.
Amanda Hernandez is a Bakersfield College student and marketing writer.