I had a friend in High School who told me shortly after I enrolled in NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College) that I would end up wasting my potential, and then followed up with a ‘Have fun with working at McDonalds!’ joke. At the time, I took it to heart, probably more than I should have, but my experience has been the exact opposite.

Some context about this boy- he came from an extremely wealthy family, and had had no trouble achieving straight As all through High School- mostly because his parents were always riding him about studying or doing homework. That was all well and good, of course, until he got to college. As I’m sure everyone here can testify, college is about more than just being ‘smart’. It’s about being hardworking, more than perhaps anything else. And my poor friend just didn’t have the work ethic he needed.

When we met up for lunch almost a year later, he was on the academic probation list after two semesters. His parents were upset because they had wasted so much money to send him to a high-ranking school, and had started threatening to kick him out if he didn’t get his act together. Now, I understand that Community College isn’t for everyone. Some people realize how important it is to work for what you want early on, in High School. Those people are the same people that tend to excel at four-year universities. But there are a lot of circumstances where people just don’t seem to understand that you have to be more than ‘smart’ to succeed in this world.

And that’s where Community College comes in. The vast majority of my friends at NOVA, whether they know their majors or not, are on the Dean’s List or Honor Roll, in addition to working one or two part-time jobs. Many of them still live with their parents sure, but that’s because most of them are saving up for their time at four-year universities, or paying for college on their own. That, I would say, is the goal of most Community Colleges- teaching their students that Hard Work leads to success more often than just being smart.

Post written by Madison Bishop
I am a 20 year old NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College) Student. I work two jobs, have two majors and hold a 4.0. Do I have free time? No, no I don’t.