UNITED STATES—Do you have to pursue education beyond high school? That is a question so many people ponder. We have all heard that notion that having a college education gives you a bit of an edge when it comes to job opportunities. However, the thing plenty of people don’t tell you is that you are NOT guaranteed a job upon completion of college. That is a myth people.

For me, obtaining a college education was a goal of mine as it made me the first in my family to actually achieve it. It wasn’t about proving something to other people; it was about proving something to myself and I knew to have more opportunities considering where I grew up I needed an education. There was no question while in high school if I would go to college it was more a question of where I would go to college.

I started preparation in the 11th grade taking the ACT, where I scored in the average range. That was not satisfying so I took the exam again during the beginning of my senior year and scored a few points higher. At that point, I was ok with the score I attained and it was time to start applying to colleges. I truly cannot remember how many schools I applied for, but I didn’t limit myself. I applied to all the schools I could think of and the ones that I truly wanted to go attend.

I got acceptance letters to every single school I applied for except one which was NYU. I knew my personal statement was not as strong as I needed it to be, but you cannot win them all. Now that I’ve received my acceptance letters it was all about determining what school would best fit me. I had scholarship offers as a result of my academic performance, but no full ride. So my goal was to pick a university that was offering me a bang for my buck (grants that I didn’t have to pay back), was affordable and had a film program.

That was key for me, if the university didn’t have a film program it was just not going to work. I had dabbled with various career choices while in high school, but my passion has and always will be that of a filmmaker. It has been since an early age people. At one point during my sophomore year, I seriously consider becoming a lawyer, in particular a District Attorney as I wanted to have an impact on the world in relation to crime. However, as important as the law is to me, I choose to follow my passion the one thing that is potent in my mind every single day, and allows a creative eruption of ideas that law just doesn’t.

I know what everyone is thinking what college did you choose? I’ll keep that secret because I don’t think that matters too much. All I will say is that it was a university that is part of the Big Ten. I narrowed my choice after looking at the cost per semester and the grants and loans it would take to pay for my college education over a 4 year period. There were a few schools offering a bit more money, but they didn’t have a program that suited my film aspirations.

Now that the choice has been made it was time for the most important step: financial aid and paying for college. I applied for financial aid far in advance so that I was fully aware of what I would need to come out of pocket to pay for school. No America, I did not have my parents to lean on to pay for my college education nor have I ever. It was all me, and I know for most 18/19 year-olds that would scare them to death. That wasn’t the case for me. It was a challenge and I was up for it. However, I would soon learn in my freshmen and sophomore year, college is a different beast than high school people, very different.