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My Time School Hopping

I've been to three universities in four years and I still don't have a degree.

Long story, but I have the time so I might as well write it all down.

I'm from Toronto but I decided to go to school in Huntsville, Alabama after high school. It was a small (under 3,000) person, historically Black, extremely religious school. I was raised religious but I don't really identify like that anymore. I chose the school because two of my cousins went there and loved it, and my uncle teaches down there. I also wanted to get away and try something new. The school that I went to was an HBCU. An HBCU is a historically Black college or university. Basically, when education was segregated and Black people weren't allowed to go to regular schools, these were the schools that were founded by Black people for them to go to. I had only gone to all White schools and going to a school where I would be around other Black people sounded really fun. So I packed up my bags and moved into the dorms.

I started as a biology major. I don't know why because after one semester I accepted the fact that I really didn't want to be a doctor no matter how much I loved Grey's Anatomy. So I made the switch to finance. I loved finance. I love all the financial documentaries and I thought that it was the most interesting thing in the world. Sure I had to take three extra math courses because I hadn't taken the pre-requisites in high school, but it was (barely) worth it. After a year and a half of taking finance, I decided that I needed to change schools. My school was great, but only if you were taking a hard science, pastoral studies, or music. Anything other than that, and the program was just okay. I felt like for finance, a lot of it is based on who you know and what school you went to. I thought that it would make sense for me to go to a well-known school, closer to where I'm actually going to be working. So I packed up my bags once more and moved to a school back in Canada.

I quickly realized that I was out of my league. The curriculum at my previous school was a lot different than my new one and I was not prepared for the courses that I was in. I lagged behind in my classes and I also fell into a depression. I was in a new school ten times bigger than my last one. I went from a religious school to a party school and I was back in an environment where a very small percent of the population looked like me. A few weeks before the end of the semester, I decided that I wasn't going to go back. My grades were terrible, I didn't have any friends, and I hated being at the school. I just needed to get out.

I stayed at home for the next couple of weeks feeling like a total failure. I got a job working retail while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had to think about what makes me happy and what I could do for my entire life, while also focusing on the fact that I would be three years behind my friends. That caused a lot of stress. And then I realized that it wasn't really that deep. Sure, you should definitely get a degree in the field that you want to work in, but you don't have to work the same job for the rest of your life. There are so many people who are working their dream jobs with a degree in an unrelated field, or without a degree at all. A degree doesn't lock your life into place. Who cares when I graduate? No one except for me. I realized that I was stressing myself out about something that really won't matter 20 years from now and that bothered me.

I worked until August and in September I started going to school in Toronto for urban planning. I love my major. I get to help people, I get to study cool things, and I get to go to school in an awesome city. I also live at home so I'm saving a ton of money.

At the end of the day, I'm still three years out from graduating, I still get anxiety attacks when I compare where I am compared to my friends. But it was all worth it. If I had to do it all again...I probably would, I don't know. It depends on the day.

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