By Jennifer Hutcheson

It’s your life. You know what decisions are right and people can’t judge that. That’s what I kept telling myself as I prepared to tell my ex-roommate and family that the place I put my hopes and dreams into for a year was no longer right for me.Spending a year and a whole lot of money, I can honestly say I wasted all of it on a small, boring college with hardly any opportunities. Deciding to go to Midway College was quite possibly one of the worst decisions I have ever made for myself. Don’t get me wrong, the friends I made will last me a lifetime, but the lack of opportunity is enough to make me scoff at the place.

Somewhere along the halfway mark of my senior year summer, I decided it was probably a good idea that I attend a college, mostly to satisfy my parents. Searching for one close to home, but with a good nursing program, I chose Midway.

Nursing was a default option at the time because I spent most of my high school career focusing on health sciences and even achieving my Certified Nurse’s Aide License. Since it was a small college, and only 15 minutes from my home, Midway seemed like a good option. Campus was beautiful, the dorms were nice and the food was good. I was still a teenager, but I was ready for my freedom, and these were my biggest worries.

Nowhere along that choosing process did I consider, is there anything to do in my downtime? Are the high tuition prices worth what I’m being provided? Are the people the type I want to surround myself with? These things weren’t in the front of my mind when examining this new place I would call home.

After moving and settling into my dorm room with my best friend, the excitement of being on my own was enough to cover the flaws. However, something seemed wrong when the extent of activities on our first weekend consisted of examining the four walls of our dorm room because there was no agenda to fulfill or friends to meet. Everyone stayed in their rooms, unless they were involved with sports teams that had scheduled practices and games. Needless to say, Sundays I traveled home so that I could have some excitement in my life.

Classes started soon and the days were filled with attending those, but the nights fell very short when it came to having anything to do on campus. Toward the spring of my freshman year there, I started considering my options. While I kept it to myself for fear of persecution, I researched other campuses and majors. I can say without a doubt that not one thing offered to me at Midway was right for me in any sort of way. Not the major, not the friends – besides the few real ones I made – not the campus, not one thing. It was all wrong.

After searching and consulting my friends, I settled on the option of attending Eastern Kentucky University. A good friend from high school was already there so I went and visited her dorm and walked around campus.

Upon arrival at Eastern that day, my jaw was on the ground as I saw the perfectly sized campus, the two gyms for students and the cafeteria with so many food options. Everyone probably got a kick out of seeing my face, but I just couldn’t believe these people, my friends, were enjoying this college while I was stuck in a small room, with no opportunities at all.

I remember the first time I heard that Eastern’s gym offered free fitness classes to students, I was in complete shock. That seemed like such a big deal for me, coming from a place that would never dream of offering that kind of luxury to its students.

Convincing my parents of my change of heart wasn’t hard because they could see the unhappiness oozing from me. While they knew it wasn’t right for me, it was still hard for them to see a year going down the drain. After convincing them Eastern was right for me, they supported and helped me through the transferring process.

My shock and amazement still hasn’t ceased as I’m entering my second year here. The campus size, Powell cafeteria, having two gyms and my chosen major of journalism has yet to let me down. Now that I’m in the right major on the right campus, everything seems to fall into place with my hard work.

While every college or university has their flaws, I wasn’t surprised when I heard the recent awards Eastern has been granted. In my opinion, it is a great place with endless opportunities. Eastern has the ability to make students feel at home, when home is far away. I’m sure my family couldn’t be happier with where I am now, and they actually feel like their money is being put to good use.