1. They get all those sweet, sweet Gen Ed credits without paying insulting amounts of money.
2. They get to have at least a couple old people in every class who tell ridiculous stories about the war and/or bring snacks for everyone on Fridays.
3. They understand the deep divide that exists between the kids who are there to save money and transfer to the best possible school, and the kids who are there because they want to delay going to work at a warehouse for another year or two whilst living at their parents’ house.
4. When it comes to extra curricular activities, the Student Activities council will all but throw resources at anyone who wants to try something new because they are always looking for ways to “make campus life more exhilarating.”
5. Most of them will never know student debt, or at least not heavy student debt.
6. They have access to all of the criminally-underrated transfer scholarships, and are able to arrive in their new school with all of the battle scars that come from serving two years in a community college.
7. They have developed a rock-solid emotional exoskeleton from having to deal with everyone’s constant snide/derisive remarks about attending a community college.
8. The professors — who are usually available at a shockingly high rate — will shower them with love if they show a good amount of motivation and interest in the course.
9. They get to have classes with all the weird, grizzled-yet-brilliant professors who have left the liberal arts college system for reasons that seem… unclear….
10. Because they often transfer to super-good schools and then everyone is like, “Wait, you went to a community college?!” as though they are freshly emerged from some sort of leper-filled swamp.
11. They get to power through technical degrees and straight into well-paying union jobs with brilliant efficacy.
12. They get to look, from their technical position, with a certain amount of smugness at the liberal arts students who mocked them for their “blue-collar” interests, as they now have a good job where few people their age do.
12. While they can be surrounded by completely unmotivated slackers in a lot of their classes, they are acutely aware of how many opportunities await them if they are willing to work hard.
13. They can work a part-time job after school and actually put the money towards a) their future or b) the things they want to do in their spare time.
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14. Even if they are a little hesitant at first to socialize with people who are different than them, they quickly realize that all of the students from different age brackets and backgrounds are all really cool people that they should make the effort to get to know.
15. They can make years-long friendships with a 40-year-old mother of three and a 22-year-old slacker, and adore them both equally.
16. They know how to avoid the cigarette butts littered around campus with laser-like precision.
17. Even though a good amount of their friends are probably going to be assholes about their choice to go to CC, they are going to turn that other cheek, à la Jesus, and wait until they see the semester’s bill to feel all vindicated and righteous.
18. They can experiment with all kinds of different classes to find out exactly what kinds of things interest them, and, at least financially speaking, they aren’t forced to commit to anything before they want to.
19. If they put in even, like, a couple hours a week at the library, they can basically go to school for free.
20. Because they are likely living with their parents for an extra year or two, they get to develop that interesting, neither-kid-nor-adult relationship that can make your overall connection with your parents just that much sweeter.
21. They have the change of scenery between high school and CC, which is pretty crazy (even if you don’t think it would be), and then they have another culture shock two years into their studies, which totally slaps them across the face with the baby powder of reality and gets them pumped to finish things out strong.
22. They are hella appreciative of a good university education when it comes time to transfer.
23. They have those tiny-ass classes even in their freshman year, so they get the joy of taking stuff like Psych 111 without the spiritual drain that is having to share said class with 200 other students. They get the intimacy of Master’s classes with the easy-A coasting of low-level gen ed classes, and they may even one day get to experience the same conditions for their actual Master’s classes, which they will actually have money for.
This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog.