Copious amounts of Quebecers can vouch that CEGEP has provided them with the best years of their lives. For anyone that doesn't know, CEGEP is a pre-university college that bridges high school to university. It's often remarked as a valuable element of our education system because it allows post-secondary students to metamorphose.

CEGEP comes at a time when students are just becoming of legal age and are breaking the proverbial chains they were bound to in their high school years. The institution represents the foundation of independence in our Quebec youth.

Read on to find out the five reasons why CEGEP is a fundamental step in our education system.

1. It allows you to choose what you want to do

CEGEP is all about you! You have the freedom to choose what program of study you’d like to be in, what classes you want to enroll in, and ultimately, who you want to surround yourself with. It isn’t like high school where you have to go along with what administration and the government tells you to do. Yes, there are general and program requirements that you need to satisfy in CEGEP. But the majority of the time, the options of classes within those requirements are endless. Not to mention, there isn’t a strict 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. timetable set in place for you. You go to school and go home at the hour that pleases you – most of the time. In other words, you have the power of veto.

2. You’re able to interact with different crowds

High school is a place where you’ll generally see, and have to interact with, the same faces for five years. The cliques usually remain the same from the first day to the last day of high school. The reputation that you have will also remain. In CEGEP, no one knows any of that. It’s a fresh start for everyone. You start off with a blank slate and meet all kinds of students from around the island with the same interests as you. You interact with people that, if they were placed in your high school, you normally would not speak to. In two years, you’re able to become such great friends with people that you had no clue of when you were in high school. Your circle of friends grows and diversifies in CEGEP, and it's for the better.

3. You can study what you’re passionate about

More often than not, your choice of program reflects your interests and what you’d like to pursue in life. Granted, many of those who are admitted in a program in CEGEP don’t exactly know what they’d like to do with their lives, but by the same token, the choice must mean that they are even just slightly interested in it. What this means is that you’re not being forced by “The Man” to take a certain program or class like you would be in high school. You have the power to finally study what you want to and make the most of your education. In CEGEP, your interests are finally tied to your class curriculum. What more could you ask for?

4. Only you can decide your fate

It’s up to you to fulfill the demands of CEGEP. It’s structured much differently than high school is, and students are ultimately pushed to up the ante quickly. It’s your job to stay on top of things, and sometimes that’s the hardest task of going from high school to CEGEP. Teachers won’t badger you to do your homework and follow-up with an e-mail to your parents. Not even your parents will be as severe (hopefully) because they know that CEGEP is where students are meant to shed their skin and become independent learners. You’re responsible for your homework, your assignments, your grades, and simply attending class – a task that is a constant struggle for some.

5. You’ll discover who you truly are

With fulfilling your demands as a CEGEP student, you come to find who you really are. Having to attend school, maintain a passable average, uphold a part-time job, and retain somewhat of a social life, it can sometimes be trying. In the midst of your school, work, and social routine, you’ll see yourself grow remarkably. You’ll be able to discover whether you’re a driven and determined person, or if you’re someone who sometimes needs an extra push. Whatever the case may be, you’ll see yourself for the person you really are, and that is the person that you’ll project in the “real-world.” CEGEP is without a doubt a necessary step in our education path because it prepares you for what’s to come in university and matures you into becoming a contributing adult within our society.

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