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Expensive but worthwhile

Jamison H.
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Sonoma State University, 2012

My decision to go to college was not made so I could be the first in my family to do so. Instead, it was more for self-fulfillment. I grew up in a family that often struggled for money, which seemed to light a fire under me in terms of achievement and my pursuit of higher financial status. Naturally, I chose to major in business administration with the motivation of broad employment opportunities and substantial earning potential after college.

Living my whole life in the San Francisco Bay area, I felt the urge to go to school away from home. My first choice was San Diego State, with Cal Poly a close second. Unfortunately, I applied for college right as many such schools were becoming increasingly impacted with applicants. When all the SAT and admissions dust had settled, I had the choice between Sacramento State and Sonoma State. In all honesty, because neither were my top choice, I ended up using some of the most irrational criteria to decide. I knew Sac State had good business and kinesiology programs, but Sonoma State just sounded better. I made the right choice; who wouldn't want to go to school in wine country?

In 2012 — four years and some change later — I finished at Sonoma State with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. Although I was not aware of it until my senior year, a Bachelor of Science requires more units, and therefore looks better on a resume than a Bachelor of Arts in the same degree.

My first year at Sonoma, I lived in a dorm room without a roommate, but I did share a bathroom. This was a nice arrangement, although by my second year I realized it was cheaper to live off-campus. I subsequently moved into a house amount two miles from campus with four other guys. By my junior year it made more sense to live closer to school, as I was making three or four daily trips between my house and campus. Living closer to school allowed me to ride my bike and still get to class, as well as study sessions in the library, on-time. I found that studying on campus was much more productive than my procrastination-filled attempts at home.

The most confusing aspect of my college experience was definitely financial aid. While it is a blessing to have so many helpful grants and scholarships available, the convoluted structure of student loans makes it nearly impossible for an 18-year freshman to understand all of the financial complexities of college. Not to mention, the high price of tuition and interest rates really hurt the cause. After college, although I worked throughout and received grants, I still ended up with over $30,000 in student loans. I have since been able to pay off a small portion.

While attending Sonoma State I became certified as a personal trainer, nutritional specialist, and group fitness instructor. Although my major was business, my time in college led me to the fitness industry. Luckily, my background taking marketing and leadership classes has helped me tremendously in my own entrepreneurial fitness endeavors. I currently work as fitness instructor teaching boot camp classes and training clients one-on-one. I also operate my own fitness website.

Looking back on college, I wish I were less physically demanding on my body. With work, school, and constant exercise, toward the end of school, my lifestyle really took its toll on my body. Additionally, I probably would have picked a more fitness-minded major. My advice for those going into college is to give yourself as much room to grow as a person as you can, and change your mind as often as you need to. If you have to spend an extra year or two in college because you switched majors a couple times, then so be it. Enjoy the experience; don't always look toward the end result.