When you are raised in Marin, there is a certain pressure to do well in school. This isn’t a bad thing, except when you are talking to students at Tam and other high school students in the area. You begin to notice a common thread. People are stressed out and unsure of their future after high school. I myself chose not take all the usual APs, and the extensive SAT and ACT prep classes. I  take classes because they interest me, planning to get all my credits and then go to College of Marin (COM). This is where I will explore my options and figure out what I really want to do later in life.

In the world we live in, it is hard to find a good career without a degree. Some people will go through high school thinking that the only way to get that degree  to go straight to a four-year university. However, in reality, there are a great deal of other options. Spending two to three of those four years at a junior college like COM will boost your chances of finishing at a top school and getting a degree. Now you’re saying; “WAIT! But then I’m spending an extra two to three years in school.” You actually can transfer into a four-year college as a junior so you are not falling behind very much, if at all.

When I was in middle school, I remember looking at my years ahead in high school being afraid, not of the upper-classmen or even the workload but afraid of messing up my whole life by doing poorly in high school. Making the decision to go to COM has removed all that fear. I’ve learned that there will never be only one opportunity.

Not worrying about how my transcript looks has let me take classes that interest me. I have taken many courses and dropped many, but this process is helping me figure out what I really want to do in life. I mean, how many of us actually look forward to getting up for school and doing homework? The system that has been set up by the public school focuses on your performance and how many high-level classes you need to take to get into a “good” college. The system lacks a focus on the enjoyment of learning and strengthening your mind. I am not saying that I have never taken anything meaningful away from any of my classes, but nobody has ever said to me they are taking AP Calculus because it seems like an interesting subject.

When I go to COM, I look forward to continue trying new things like astronomy or business or even something that I haven’t even discovered yet. Then I will know for sure what I want from a higher education. Starting my second semester of eleventh grade, I can already say College of Marin has made my short list.


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