I am officially three-plus years into my college career, so it’s probably a little too late to quit now.

Not that I would, just to be clear, but I’d be lying if I said that it’s never crossed my mind during my time here at the University of Rhode Island to transfer or just to leave in general. I feel that’s probably the same for every college student that isn’t completely certain about what they want to do with the rest of their lives once these four, short years are over.

People drop out of college all the time. Kanye West launched his career after leaving school and it is safe to say he’s doing well for himself. Yeezy is an outlier for sure, but I’ve always been told to think big. Whether it’s because of regret, financial obligations, fear or any of the other endless reasons to jump ship, I’ve been afflicted by them all. But here I stand.

When I was at this crossroads, I didn’t have any single, specific reason as to why I stayed. I didn’t really have a clear-cut reason as to why I would leave either. This includes the summer before my junior year where I found out that with minimum payments, I’m not expected to pay off school until the ripe age of 37. I turn 21 in December and chose to start paying back small amounts of my loans last September to lessen the burden in the long run.

I respect the model of college. For the most part, going to class and working here has made me far more motivated than I was in high school. Though I am up to my eyeballs in debt and will be entering an extremely unstable job market in less than a year, I can no longer imagine myself without it. It’s interesting to come to terms with since the plan is to leave for good in May. Maybe I have Stockholm syndrome.

Honestly, my desire to venture elsewhere was never that strong. My guess now is that I kept the idea stored in the back of my head as an out in case I decided I wasn’t cut out for all that college demanded. I don’t despise myself for feeling this way, but I definitely know I would have been angry that I made such a brash decision. I love URI. I found my niche here and met, and continue to meet plenty of people that make me want to be better than I was yesterday.

Most can only dream of being in the position that I am right now. I’ve faced my fair share of struggles, but I am still lucky to have the opportunity to achieve what so many cannot. I get that college isn’t for everybody, and my feelings provide absolutely no justification for its cost being anywhere near what it is. That’s another beast entirely.

Although the odds are clearly not in my favor, the sense of optimism this world gives me is comparable to nothing I have ever felt at this stage of my life. That may change next winter when I start getting more loan bills or it might change tomorrow, but this is how I feel right now.

I look forward to the last seven-and-a-half months of my career as a student. Grad school is out of the question for me since I feel way too ready to enter the real world as it is. It’s been a long time coming and I am proud of myself for making it this far. I don’t plan on letting my hard work and dedication go to waste.

I made the most of college and met good people along the way. I like to think my time here is something that will be well-remembered by both myself and my peers, and I am completely fine with that time drawing to a close. I accomplished what I came here to do and then some.