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Column - College frustrations

As a senior in high school, thinking about going to college can be very exciting, but frustrating.

When I think about college, I think about independence and the chance to get out and experience what life has to offer.

Being on my own, going to a new environment and meeting new people just excites me to an extreme level.

The only doubts in my mind are what college am I going to be attending and how am I going to afford to go to college.

As a junior, I went to the yearly college fair at school and browsed around the different college information booths that were there.

My main concerns were choosing from costs and locations.

All the colleges had to be under $20,000 and in an area of the world that I really like.

So private colleges were out of the question and did not really interest me anyway.

When I chose my areas, I thought about Fargo and Michigan.

Ever since I went to Fargo for the first time a few years ago, I loved the vibe that I got from the scenery and the environment. It is such a spread out town, but also active with people, but not noisy like the Twin Cities.

Michigan caught my eye when a few friends and I went on a trip there last fall. The beauty of being up by the Great Lakes and in an isolated, wooded environment made me think of freedom and a chance of regaining peace of mind.

While weighing the options, I thought about which school would benefit me the most based on my interests. I figured since I am interested in a broad aspect of public relations and journalism, that I would see which major those subjects were combined in and which school offered the best program.

North Dakota State University (NDSU) turned out to be the school of choice. NDSU has a mass communications major that combines elements of public relations, radio broadcasting, web management and print journalism.

When picking this major based on my interests, I looked for one that I would like, but also for one that gave me a broader area of study in many similar subjects like journalism.

That is a key component in picking a subject to major in. There are majors that emphasize multi-pairs of studies compared to other majors that only emphasize one area of study.

When a business is hiring and they have two potential people to hire, they are going to look at their areas of study.

Say one employee has a degree in marketing, but the other person has a degree in marketing and business management, the person with the marketing and business degree is going to be more valuable to the company because he/she can provide a larger area of use for the company. This employee will be able to work in more areas of the company because of the broader emphasized degree.

The next part is being able to afford college.

When sitting down at a computer and browsing for scholarships and financial aid, I became frustrated right away.

I did not know which sites to use and which not to use. Finally, instead of wasting my time, I went to my guidance counselor.

She sent me in the direction of applying for many scholarships and student grants on websites that the school knows about and can guarantee a student college money.

To this day, I am still confused about funds for college and how everything on the Internet works for signing up.

I just remind myself that if I should ever get frustrated, I will just go and ask for help from my guidance counselor at school and if she cannot help me, I will contact the college I am planning on attending.

College can be scary if students make it scary, but it can also be fun. I just tell myself, "Pretty soon all the seniors will be freshmen again, sitting in their first-hour seats - ambitious, scared and ready for a new experience."