Choosing a College

Vanessa Denha-Garmo

Vanessa Denha-Garmo

I remember standing in a room at Mercy High School with a couple dozen of my fellow class mates and each of us were going around the room sharing where we each were going to college. It was my senior year. My turn came and I had no answer. I had no clue. At that time, I was interested in studying advertising. I applied to Wayne State University (WSU) and University of Michigan (U of M) but was leaning toward going to Oakland Community College (OCC) my first year to save money and to think about what I really wanted to do with my life.

I loved creative writing, broadcasting and speaking in public but I also loved the law and psychology. Like many students, I was all over the place. What I remember that day was regretting not doing my research prior. I knew I was going to go to college, but that was about it. My four older sisters all attended Oakland University (OU) and that was a possibility but most of my friends were heading to WSU and U of M. I wanted to follow along. I wanted to carpool, too.

This month, we revised our annual Back to School issue to focus on colleges and universities. We wanted to give some popular schools in our state an opportunity to share their highlights. The colleges we picked have a strong Chaldean presence.

I ended up at OCC and then eventually WSU for my undergraduate degree in journalism and years later, I earned my master’s degree from Spring Arbor University. We include them briefly as well because I know their value. They offer great on-line accredited degree programs for those busy adults who don’t have time to sit in a classroom. That was me several years ago as full-time working wife and mother.

Choosing a college can be a challenge. I talk about college and degrees with my middle school
aged daughter and my nieces and nephews. I think it is important to plant the seed young. I might not have had a clear plan my senior year in high school but my dad expected his seven daughters to get degrees and have careers. That seed was planted in my mind. I remember him telling me that I could be the President of the United States if I wanted. To him the biggest hurdle was accomplished. I was an American citizen – born in this country. He was excited that nothing could stop any of us from that accomplishment, if we ever wanted it.

Although I would love to work in the White House one day, it’s not as the President. Perhaps at the tale end of my career, I could work in communications. I still think being a Press Secretary to the President of the United States would be such a cool gig. However, I can only imagine the stress. As a former full-time reporter always on call and a former press secretary in Wayne County, I kind of have an idea of the demands. I still think it would be awesome.

I digress. I hope parents and students alike find our college cover story helpful. I am a fan of having a college degree or some kind of college education. I think there is great value in the experience. I realize college is not for everyone but I do think everyone should consider it. Do your research first. We hopewe are helping you with that process in this issue.