Column: Saving money, buying time

The Red Ledger’s Jordan Toomey explains that society’s timing for university attendance doesn’t always fit


Mandy Halbert

Senior Jordan Toomey makes a case for delaying the big university decision.

Jordan Toomey, Staff Reporter

In little more than half a year, I could imagine packing up my belongings, shoving boxes into my car, and waving goodbye to my parents as I drive off into the sunset toward some cool place like UNT or UT-Austin or OSU. I would wipe away a tear, but I won’t be sad; college equals freedom, me and my roommate are already besties, and I’ve already rushed and joined a sorority. My life would be the stereotypical university experience I’ve always dreamed it would be…

Except that won’t be my life next year.

I haven’t even applied to college. I’ve taken the SAT one time. I haven’t gone on a single college visit.

I’m a senior, it’s the end of the first semester of my senior year, and I’m almost out of time.

I did it to myself–on purpose, too–because I knew I wasn’t ready, and Collin College exists as a for-sure fall back. The truth is, I’m just not ready to leave home. This concept may be foreign to a lot of people, because I’ve heard countless seniors complaining that they “can’t wait to get out of here” and are “moving as far away as possible.”

And it’s not that I just love my family to death and can’t bear to be without them, because this is not the case. I just don’t want to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition if I’m going to be miserable, homesick, and lonely the whole time. There is no point in pushing myself to go live somewhere else when I’m not ready, just because that’s the way society thinks my life should go.

And to anyone I’ve heard say that community college is for people who didn’t get good grades, it’s actually a very good option for people who want to get a college education but don’t exactly have the means to do that at an expensive university. At community college, I could get the same type of education for far less money, and I could later transfer into a big university with scholarships.

I do plan on going to a university, too, because while I’m not ready now, I know eventually I will be. It’s going to be hard to assimilate into college life and make friends and find my place, and I’m really terrified that not going the full four years will ruin my social life, but this is just the direction I feel like I need to go. I don’t see a problem with breaking from the norm, and my parents surely don’t see anything wrong with saving some money.

Some people may argue that it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and that the homesickness will only last for a couple weeks, but after that, everything will seem normal. I just don’t understand why I have to be in a hurry to live in a tiny room with another person I may or may not like and share a bathroom with 10 other people and be too poor to afford a roll of toilet paper. Of course, there are some people in circumstances where it truly would be better for their mental health if they left the house, and I can respect that. But this is the same factor that has led me to decide that staying at home my first year would be what’s best for me.

I was so scared of making the wrong choice about college that I didn’t make a choice, then one day I woke up and it was Dec. 1st and I hadn’t applied for any scholarships and it was too late, and I let it be too late. I did it on purpose. I let myself have exactly one option to avoid choosing.

Bottom line: don’t be afraid of taking a slightly unconventional path in life, no matter your reasoning. If you’re just not ready, you’re just not ready. Your mental health is so much more important than any life experience–trust me. Don’t push yourself to do something you’re not ready for.

At the end of this school year, my peers–some of whom I have been in school with for 13 years–will stand up in front of the entire school and announce what college they will be attending next year. I, too, will stand in front of the school and announce that I’m attending Collin College.

I will get confused looks from my friends and from underclassmen wondering why anyone would choose to stay at home when they could leave. But I’ve accepted it, embraced it even, and I strongly believe that no one should pay thousands of dollars to be miserable.

Especially when peace of mind and more time to make a major life decision is available for $500 a semester.