College break led to greater appreciation

Priscilla AguirreBy Priscilla Aguirre


I didn’t realize how important school was until I took a two-year break.

Growing up in a household where education wasn’t always stressed, my mind-set was I’d be OK without a degree. I was so wrong.

In the fall of 2011, I walked the halls of the Cardinal campus with hopes and dreams like everyone else surrounding me. My personality didn’t fit my major (communication arts) at this time because I was shy, nervous and fearful. I’m still working on improving those traits.

Spring semester, in my sophomore year, was about to kick off and I just disappeared. Procrastination was my best friend and my fears got the best of me. Money became an issue in my family and I chose to leave UIW to help. At the time I didn’t know I was hurting myself. There was always an excuse with me and I felt I was making the right decision.

During this break, I was working full time as a server at a local restaurant. I still work there but part-time now — with bills and a lot of questions I tried to answer. What am I doing? Do I want to be a server all my life? What if I finished college? You don’t know how much you miss school until you have been gone for a while. I missed being productive. I missed writing. I missed college.

Finally, it hit me that school is a necessity and I decided to change my life around. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and recognized I was wasting time. My fear for asking for help went away and I stormed into the financial aid office ready to start again. I picked up where I left off and next thing I know I’m enrolled for the fall semester of 2014. The whole process was time-consuming and challenging but I motivated myself through it all.

My first day back my emotions were all over the place. I saw old and new faces. The campus was evolving and growing. I was in classes with spanking-new freshmen and here I am a returning sophomore from a few years back. It was hard hearing that others I had classes with two years ago were getting ready to graduate. That could have been me if I just appreciated school more.

That pause in my life was eye-opening and I did some soul-searching. It took me awhile to comprehend that getting a degree in something you love is worth working for. I’m still growing and learning as I go but I do it with a bit more wisdom than I had before. In the words of author Chuck Palahniuk, “If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.”

My main focus now is to graduate and to work hard for the things that make me happy. I applied for work-study for the Logos newspaper and got the position. Now I’m honored to be one of the two assistant editors on staff. The San Antonio Express-News was hiring for a part-time obituary writer and I’m currently writing there. This past summer, I didn’t want to waste anymore time so I interned at San Antonio Magazine. I have three jobs and manage to pass my classes. I love every minute of it.

The reason I chose to write about this part of my life is to show others the grass isn’t greener on the other side. I hope every incoming freshman, returning Cardinal, or transfer student enjoys the headaches of finals, the study sessions with friends, and the worry of registration. Take in the moments you are studying and pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you accomplish. Set goals for yourself, even if small, and achieve them.

Most importantly — have fun and get involved. Figure out your interest and join the many organizations the university offers. Remember the memories you make here with your lifetime friends. Be creative and bold in your classes. Show people who you really are and find who you want to be. Not many have the opportunity to experience college and if you do then cherish the journey to graduation. College isn’t a waste of money or time. It is a chance to make a difference for your future.


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