The senior college struggle


Macy Fowler

There are plenty of resources to help a student determine if college is for them.

Macy Fowler, Co-Editor in Chief

In 2017 College Board discovered that the average four year college student at a public school graduated with $26,000 of debt. With a past flight attendant mother, I became a traveler and explorer at a very young age. My future school plans never seriously included staying in state for college, and after plenty of searching, I created a list of my top three schools. All three, and a couple more I had added, were all out of state. Most of my peers will stay in state for college, but they may travel to another city. 

According to The Washington Post, 56% of students with an SAT score of at least 2100 tend to travel further for college since they can receive more scholarships. Only 24% of students with an SAT score between 1200 and 1500 left their home state for college, which is where I stand. So how did I finally figure out what I wanted to do, while understanding that I would rack up a decent amount of debt? It took months of discussion, debate, and research to finally make my decision. 

As a kid, I always believed my friends and I would forever be joined at the hip throughout our entire lives, not just high school. Yet here we are, getting ready for the cheesily named ‘next chapter’ of our lives. Leaving my friends, especially ones I have known since kindergarten, is a cloud intensely hanging over my head. People say college is the true time to meet your lifelong friends, and I am excited for that opportunity, but leaving behind memories terrifies me. I am pretty sure that other people who have left their home state for college have also felt that way, which helps me feel less alone. Plus, leaving my family just feels surreal to me. At first, I wanted to stay in Colorado, as the thought of being far from them worried me. Could I pay my own bills? Do I even know how to grocery shop for myself? After a couple of hours, I reminded myself the answer to both of those was yes, as my parents taught me important skills throughout my teen years. 

I am a firm believer in planning out the months ahead of me, so that way I can determine my best options, but college does not work that way. Matter of fact, life does not work like that. Filling out college applications, researching if I could afford to live somewhere, and some self realization helped me understand things rarely go as planned. Sometimes those things go well, and sometimes they turn out awfully. There is no way I can correctly plan out the entirety of my four years in college, let alone even a couple of months. Letting go and going along for the ride, what most college students do, is my only option. I cannot worry about forcing something to go right, when in reality I will definitely hit a couple of speed bumps during this four year ride.

Just like some of my peers and friends, I was born and raised in Colorado. All I have ever known is Fort Collins, some surrounding cities, and the mountains. I will always love my home town, but as I grew older, I became less of a fan of the snow-filled winter months. I began looking at places where it does not really snow often, which meant somewhere like California or Oregon. I feel like I am ready to explore new cities, and create memories somewhere new. The only thing that would have ever kept me in Colorado was the possible debt of going out of state. For most college students, a couple thousand dollars minimum in debt will be racked up during their academic career. Most colleges have on-campus work programs, where I could make money that could go towards paying off my debt while focusing on my major. 

College can be a scary world, and when you are by yourself in a new state, even scarier. I am not alone in the struggle to decide where to go, and thousands of other students will have this similar experience. This is the start of another journey, one where my life truly begins. I wish everyone a great last semester, and for those other seniors out there, comment below what your plans are for this upcoming year.