If I have learned one thing from my four years at Sandy High, it would be to take advantage of any opportunities that are available to you.
During my sophomore year, I heard about the Middle College program at SHS. This would allow juniors and seniors to attend Mount Hood Community College to fulfill their high school requirements while working towards their Associate’s Degree. The best part was that the high school would pay for a certain amount of the tuition and fees.
After I did some research and spoke to my family and friends, I decided to apply for the program. If I didn’t get accepted it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but if I was accepted I would have a pretty big decision to make.
A few months later I got my acceptance letter into the program, which was pretty overwhelming. At the age of 15, I had to start thinking about the following years of not only high school, but college classes. I knew that if I was going to take advantage of this program, I was going to go all the way. I would push myself to take the necessary classes in order to graduate with my high school diploma and an Associate’s degree. So I hit the ground running.
I chose to start my first term the summer before my junior year in order to have a few credits under my belt. Although these classes were paid out of pocket, it gave me the ability to take smaller course loads in the future.
Although the high school paid for a large portion of my classes, I had to pay for several out of pocket. I knew this from the start because SHS pays for about 12 credits a term, but in order to graduate with my Associate’s Degree, I needed to take larger course loads each term.
Over the eight terms I have taken at MHCC, I have learned that having a support system is so important. I was privileged to have friends also in the program who took the same courses as me and shared the same experiences. Being so young in college takes time to get used to, but being surrounded by friends made it so much easier.
I would not take back my decision to be a part of the Middle College program because it has given me the opportunity to get a head start on my future after high school and has allowed me to meet new people while stepping out of my comfort zone.