In the spirit of graduation season, I felt the need to pay a visit to my own alma mater. Luckily, it’s not far, and right in the heart of the city. A few weeks ago, Bae’s sister graduated nursing school from the University of St. Thomas – Houston, the same school I earned my own Bachelor of Arts degree. Being at the commencement ceremony, 5 years from having walked the stage myself, so many thoughts came to mind.
This post is for anyone graduating from high school and staying in town for school, this is for anyone currently at university in their home town and wondering if they’ve made the right choice, this is for anyone who graduated from a great university but are unsure of what’s next and if staying in your home city was the best decision.
As a senior in high school, your mind is pretty much on only a few things – “thank God I’m almost done”; Prom, Graduation, and “OMG – where am I going next year?!” The application process and trying to get into your dream school is incredibly stressful! And let’s not even mention NOT getting into your dream school… That’s still a bit of a sore subject for me. I chose not to leave Houston after not getting into the one school I wanted to get into SO. BAD. despite acceptance into a number of other really renowned universities. I was quite depressed for a while after school started – all my friends left town, I developed BAD hormonal, cystic, adult acne, and I was dealing with a toxic relationship and an even more toxic, bitter and dangerous post break-up. I commuted to school since I lived at home, and worked part-time while taking 15-18 hours a semester. I had my plate fairly full, which made the 4 years fly by.
I chose UST because of its location – museums and restaurants galore, close vicinity to many different shopping districts – it’s down the street from my place of worship, it’s in an area I grew up in thanks to the location of my place of worship, and it’s a private school – although I did worry that might’ve been a little more detrimental when it came to the post-college job search. My largest class throughout my college career was only 25 people, I only had ONE auditorium style class, which was held only on Fridays during the first semester of my freshman year that held the entire freshman portion of the student body, and my commencement ceremony included ALL schools, Bachelor of Arts AND Sciences, Masters degrees AND Ph.Ds. We are a small school, but we are mighty.
But it took me a long time to realize this.
I wanted to go out of town like the rest of my friends, I wanted to get out of the house, I wanted to live on my own in a city unknown to me! Little did I realize the PERKS of staying in SUCH an amazing city. Nine years after having graduated high school and 5 years after having graduated college, being at the 2017 University of St. Thomas commencement ceremony and seeing the multitude of different cultures of the family and friends that were in attendance to see their friend or kin receive their diploma gave me an excitement I can hardly describe.
REASONS WHY I’LL NEVER REGRET STAYING IN HOUSTON FOR SCHOOL
- This city is amazing beyond words – it’s the 4th largest city in the United States. The larger the city, the more things to do
- You get to learn the city – Buffalo Bayou, Museum District, Eado, Rice U; the list can go on and the city has grown SO much over the years, and I’m glad I’ve gotten to see it’s development
- You learn to commute – Houston everywhere, anytime has traffic. If you need to get to the other side of town, be prepared for at least 45 minutes of traffic. Get to learn that, because it’s very beneficial for when you start working.
- Build your network!! If you’re planning on working in Houston (which is OBVIOUSLY a great idea, we’re a “working/commercial” city) get a jump start on your career networking before you REALLY have to once graduation comes
- “Travel” without leaving town – Houston is home to such a beautiful melange of people, making friends with people from all different races and cultures is an amazing way to expand your horizons, without even having to spend money on a plane ticket.
The time I got to spend here in school, discovering my city between classes, I cherish more than anything. I’ve seen this city grow. And now that I’m working, I tend to be the liaison for when out-of-towners come and want to know where to go and where to eat to enjoy the gems of this city.
Moral of the story – wherever you choose to attend for higher education is the right choice, because choosing to get your degree is always the right choice. But if you happen to stay in your home-town, and if your hometown is Houston, consider yourself very lucky.
The Glam Greek