Why I Went Back to School: A Student Perspective

Man writing in a journal

This piece was written by Ulyses Ramos. Ulyses Ramos is majoring in film and photography. He is planning on going to a 4-year university after finishing at Bakersfield College. His hobbies are reading, playing with his dogs, and video games  

There is a time in everyone’s lives where they question everything they do. Something as small as, “Why do I put my right shoe on first instead of my left,” “Why did I choose chocolate over vanilla?” to something as deep as “Is this the life I want for myself?” Am I good enough for this person? Am I good enough?” For me the one subject I questioned myself the most on was pursuing college. I would ask myself “Is school worth it? Am I capable enough to pursue my career goals without education?” “Is it really the right path for me?”

I started college right after high school and the main reason I had these thoughts is because I didn’t really know what career I wanted. I know I was made for something more than just working for someone else, but I couldn’t find my place in the world and was too stubborn to try something different. Another factor was finances. At the time it was just my mom, sister, and I. My sister was just a year or so old and my mom would work so much that I took care of my sister. I would take her to daycare before classes and pick her up after classes, feed her, take her out to play. I felt like her father and people would think she was my daughter. At the time I was just going to school and not working. Money was tight and it felt like I needed to try something else. I was desperate for more financial gain. I let myself get wrapped up in get-rich-quick schemes and very questionable multi-level marketing schemes. Eventually I decided to leave school and see if I could make it on these platforms.

After trying to make those platforms work, I found out I was spending more money than I was making. Eventually, I felt it was time to move on and just work. I was working pretty much everyday to make ends meet. I was living on my own just surviving and almost to the point where I was content with it. Then COVID happened. I was able to work through most of the pandemic as I was an essential worker. Though at the very end of the lockdown my employers decided to let me go. I had to move out and live with my dad. I was thinking I should just look for another job, but a question hit me like cold water. “Am I really going to find some other dead end job that I don’t like? Or should I try and get a better career and do something I enjoy?”

I finally chose to do something more and pursued school. I was able to find something I’m passionate about which is film and photography. I am only one semester away from getting a media arts certificate as well as a certificate in photography. I have a year left before I transfer to a university to get a degree in film. So overall, was school worth it for me? The answer is yes, even though it took a while I think school has helped me with networking, making new friends, and finding a path that will allow me to pursue a career that I love.

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