The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

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My College Journey

My+College+Journey

My name is Jennifer Mendez. I am 23 years old. I have been in college since 2019 at 18 and my time in college has been very rocky.

I first enrolled in college at the University of Houston-Downtown majoring in Psychology. I had just graduated high school in May 2019, and I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I knew I had the goal to go to college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. But during this time, I felt lost, confused, and was going through a rough time in my personal life. My first semester, it was a huge adjustment going from high school to college classes. All of my friends went on their separate ways. No one that I knew went to UHD, so I felt alone. I was intimidated by the size of the college, the number of students that were there, the vibe of college feeling very different from high school, etc. And majoring Psychology was my second choice. My first choice was majoring in English because I’ve always had the dream of becoming a writer and be an author or write scripts for TV and movies. I had the passion for creative writing. But as someone who has immigrant parents, they were not very supportive in my dream. My mom didn’t want me to major in English because “that doesn’t make money.” I understood my mom’s concern over my life, she wanted me to have security and be prepped for life so that I wouldn’t have to struggle like she did. But hearing her unsupportive words hurt me, I felt like I was being kicked while I was already down. There were other factors, too, but ultimately, I took the safe route and chose something that looked practical. Although, a bachelor’s degree in psychology was also useless and would require more schooling. Either way, I was drowning in a sea of confusion. I had no direction, no clear path, no nothing.

Then… COVID happened. In the middle of my second semester of college, the global pandemic happened. We were forced to continue schooling online until further notice. That lasted for a whole year and a half, maybe two. I was failing my classes due to my mental health not being at its best, not being able to learn well in a pure online class, and because of the overall situation happening in the world. I flunked English 1 three times, and by the third time, I had to transfer over to HCC to retake it once more to receive the credit. I failed because I struggled really hard with my mental health and essays. But the professor I had for English 1 at HCC was really great. She would make sure to give her students as much encouragement and time as they needed to succeed in her class. Through my own doubts and loss in confidence in my ability to write college essays, or write anything for that matter, she was there cheering me on in our zoom calls telling me that I wrote at a high college level. Shout out to Professor Kreig!

I finally passed English 1, but that meant I was pushed back by a lot. I felt very discouraged that I was not at the same pace as everyone else in my class. I was supposed to be the class of 2023, but with the pace I was going at, it looked like I wasn’t going to be. I ended up in academic probation for a year because I continued to struggle with staying on top of my work. After passing English, I transferred back to UHD for one semester, but because I was failing, I didn’t qualify for FAFSA and couldn’t afford my classes there, so I moved back to HCC and stayed here for the remainder of my time.

In 2022, I finally started to see light at the end of the tunnel. Little by little, I had a group of people in my corner cheering me on, my mental health was getting better, I was doing better in my classes and got out of academic probation, and in 2023, I chose a major that was still on the practical side but also aligned closely with what I wanted to do, and that was communications. It encompasses a lot of the things I’m interested and skilled at, like social media, writing, and digital design. I felt good about myself because life was starting to feel like it was gaining some momentum.

And now, here I am, in my last semester of community college, about to graduate, finishing my associate’s in communications. Although I didn’t graduate from a 4-year college and get a bachelor’s degree like I originally planned, this is still a really good achievement to be proud of. It took me 5 years, but we made it. I still have plans to go back to university, but this time I want to spend some time living life and continue to figure things out in the mean time before getting there.

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