Remember to mind your place

It’s a couple years old, but there’s a single statistic that I believe sums up the need for an issue like this. One out of every 10 transfer students in all of Washington State is coming out of Bellevue College, more than any other place in the state. Bellevue ranks as the third largest college in the state, and just over half the student body is studying for some form of transfer degree. With so many like-minded students, it’s pretty common to hear, “Where are you trying to go?” For me, it’s Cal Poly, where a mechanical engineering degree awaits.

It’ll probably end up taking five years and a hundred thousand dollars or so, but that’s the price we pay for a degree these days.

The learning though, is something that can be done here. That’s the idea that’s brought so many students to BC, the notion that we can study without putting our lives on hold. Getting a transfer degree means staying closer to home, keeping our jobs and saving a huge chunk of change.

It’s kinder to our wallets and less risky than skipping town fresh out of high school, only to fail out of WSU in six months after you discover partying. College is about learning, inside the classroom and out. I know I wasn’t ready to cut myself loose after graduation; I’d just turned seventeen and doing stupid things was what I was best at. But hey, things are different now—I’ve grown up a bit and I’m comfortable with moving out in a few months—and that’s hardly a unique story.

I talked to a good friend of mine over at Boise State, a Bellevue transplant himself. “I’m glad I spent the time there, honestly,” he told me. “It gave me a chance to figure it out without switching colleges every time I changed my mind. You know, way back when I didn’t know what I was doing.” Now, if you’ve ever heard the name Daycen Schmidtke, you know that he still hasn’t the faintest clue. I cracked up until he decided to defend himself. “I was way more productive than if I’d been away at school that entire time. Hell, we never could have made Rain City Clothing happen. Especially not in Idaho, I hate it here and I want out as soon as the semester’s over.”

I’m sure he’ll figure it all out, he’s already lined up a place at Central. In the meantime, I’ve got my roommate and business partner back. If it weren’t for the flexibility that Bellevue College offered, I wouldn’t be able to say that.

Not everyone gets the chance to build a company from the ground up with a buddy from high school. I’m excited for the future and thankful for the opportunities that I have here and now, even if my dream school happens to be a few quarters and 1000 miles away.

So even if you’ve got your sights set somewhere else for your future, take a look around right now and appreciate everything you’re learning right now. You might as well enjoy the stay.