The Uncharted Path I Had to Map on My Own

From the heart…
…Why so many junior colleges?


In my previous blog, Eating at Home is Almost Always the Healthiest Choice, I wrote about my junior college “career”. Over three years, I attended three different schools in order to earn a degree. Why three years instead of the typical two? Why three schools when it could’ve been one? I’d say it was the competing parental influences of Edna and Eddie. 

  1. Edna was my mom. She dropped out of high school during her sophomore year because she had hickeys all over her neck and was too embarrassed to show up after that.
  2. Eddie was my dad. A year before he died said, “Lisa, you can do anything in life that you want to.” 


Edna’s influence was probably the strongest during high school because as I think about it, I never really “knew” I wanted to go to college. I was never told of its benefits except from my high school counselor, Mr. Dangerfield (loved that guy by the way, he was the best). Besides him, no one around me ever really cared. OK, wait. Let me back up. There were people around me who cared for sure, just none of them encouraged me to expand my academic career into post high school years. No one in my family had continued past high school, so I didn’t really have any role models. It was really my friends who shaped my next step after high school. Because most of them were going to American River College (AR) in Sacramento, so did I. With that decision, I became the first person in my family to attend college. 


I spent one year AR with marginal results, and then took the next year off where all that I accomplished was moving out of Mom’s duplex, working full-time, and on many nights, partying until I couldn’t see straight. I doubted this was what my dad meant when he said I could do anything in life that I wanted to, and I felt that weight. Yet there were so many times when I sensed that there was something more out there that I needed to accomplish. The push and pull became overwhelming. I HAD to go back to school. 


That Fall, I packed up all my stuff and moved down to San Diego with a bunch of friends and enrolled in Grossmont College. For one glorious semester I lived in one of the most beautiful cities in the nation, spent my days oceanside and ate Mexican food as if I were a native (three rolled street tacos for a buck). But guess what? Four months after enrolling, I’m on my way back to Sacramento to live with Edna again. Are you kidding me right now? I have to go back to Sacramento after four months in paradise? Yep. I was out of money. I could no longer afford the tacos. I couldn’t even afford to buy another 10 lb. bag of potatoes that I resorted to eating week after week once I gave up the tacos. Thing is, I never really had any business being at Grossmont College anyway, amongst all those wealthy kids whose parents footed the bill for their education.


So here I am . Back in Sacramento to live with Edna. Back to a full-time job. Back to partying my face off. And guess where I re-enrolled? Yep, back to AR for another semester. 


  • A semester at Butte College (totally in the sticks on the outskirts of Chico!) 
  • And then transferred to the California State University at Chico where I then became the first person in my family to graduate college. To this day, I am so proud of this. I am honored to be a partying Wildcat for life! I am also proud that I proved Eddie right. 


You ask the question, “why so many junior colleges?” Frankly, I don’t know other than to say, it was the uncharted path that I had to map on my own. Whether I was rebelling against the influence of my mom, or believing in my dad’s words, I accomplished the goal I set for myself. It’s a really good feeling! 


I love that you were with me today. See you next time!



Lisa A.K.A. Loopie

Previous Next