Meet Elijah

I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.

Grades

“I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.”

When I was a junior, I was expelled.

Grades

“When I was a junior, I was expelled.”

I didn't know what I wanted to do.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I didn't know what I wanted to do.”

I don’t really put myself out there a lot.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I don’t really put myself out there a lot.”

I’m proud to say that I’m doing very well.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I’m very proud to say that I’m doing very well.”

I went to school for practically nothing.

Cost

“I went to school for practically nothing.”

Money is out there to help you—just look.

Cost

“Money is out there to help you—just look.”

It was stressful but rewarding in the end.

Cost

“It was stressful but rewarding in the end.”

I wanted to be a teacher.

Cost

“I wanted to be a teacher.”

I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.

Cost

“I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.”

It hits you at once.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“It hits you at once.”

I wasn’t sure what to do.

Cost

“I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Everything was in fine print.

Cost

“Everything was in fine print.”

I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.”

I had to deal with a lot all at once.

Responsibilities

“I had to deal with a lot all at once.”

I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.”

It pretty much gave me a full ride.

Cost

“It pretty much gave me a full ride.”

People are willing to help if you ask them.

Cost

“People are willing to help if you ask them.”

I was intimidated since I was undocumented.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was intimidated since I was undocumented.”

My father did not want to help me.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“My father did not want to help me.”

I have a good chance of becoming more stable.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I have a good chance of becoming more stable.”

Leaving the reservation is a huge step.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“Leaving the reservation is a huge step.”

Meet Elijah

 

I didn't know what I wanted to do.
Community college was the right place for Elijah to explore his options.
I didn't know what I wanted to do. (1:12)
Community college was the right place for Elijah to explore his options.
I didn't know what I wanted to do.
Now Playing
Without my mentor, I wouldn't be where I am. (1:00)
Elijah still values the advice of a man he met 15 years ago in a mentoring program.
Without my mentor, I wouldn't be where I am.
Now Playing

Snapshot

Year in college
Sophomore
Major
Criminal justice
Family income
$20,000–$40,000
College
Public two-year college
Published yearly in-state tuition and fees
$5,448
Current jobs
2
Dream job
Probation officer
Favorite celebrity
Will Smith
Elijah was undecided about college, but a volunteer from a mentoring program gave him the guidance and support he needed to make the leap.
His obstacle 

Elijah was always intrigued by his classmates who seemed to have their studies and degrees all planned out since elementary school. "I really commended that — it just wasn't me. I could never sit down and have a plan that distinct," he explains.

Being the first in his family to go to college didn't make the process any clearer since there was no one to advise him on how to do it. Yet he felt a drive to prove to them — and to himself — that he could do it.

How he overcame it 

Elijah found guidance in other places. His high school counselor offered support and pushed him to apply to college. But Elijah says it was a youth mentor of 15 years who most influenced his decision to go to community college, adding "he has his master's, so he puts a high value on higher education." Elijah decided to start on the required general-education courses while he kept his options open and figured out what would be best for him.

Elijah says that even if he didn't already have a mentor, he'd be looking for one now. "He's been everything to me — one person I could always count on... Having someone you can look up to and talk to about anything in life is really good support." Because his mentor shared his own work experiences as a probation officer, Elijah was inspired to pursue the same career.

Life at college 

Elijah was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere at his community college. While his friends jokingly call it 13th grade because they all go home at the end of the day, he feels it goes way beyond an extension of high school. For starters, there's a lot more personal responsibility in balancing school with his two jobs and other activities.

Elijah is enjoying his time in college. In addition to academics, he's made friends and formed relationships with teachers who may one day serve as references. And he now has a plan to transfer to a four-year college and continue his education toward his chosen career.

Best of all, Elijah is in a position to make his family proud. "[My mother] never went to college, so she thought it was really good that I decided to become someone that my younger siblings can look up to."

Freak-out moment? Take control.

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Break It Down

Think of the college application process as just a lot of little jobs spread out over a long period of time.

Make a To-Do List Daily

Put things that are most important at the top and do them first.

Be A Taskmaster

Set up a time budget and plan your activities accordingly. Figure out how much free time you have each week before adding any commitments.

Just Do It!

Wasting an entire evening worrying about something you’re supposed to be doing isn’t productive, and can increase your stress.

More tips: Time Management Tips for Students

If you're like Elijah

Take a next step

Get started with these ideas.