As I’ve read all the posts for our #Comm_College series this month, my respect and appreciate for the work we do in community college higher education has been reinforced and rejuvenated. I hope this is the case for you as well!
One of the frustrating perceptions those of us who work in community college are frequently confronted with is the misconception that community college is like 13th grade. So frustrating, am I right?! So I asked some of my recently graduated student leaders to reflect on their community college experience and here are a few of their heartfelt comments:
Devante: I wasn’t sure I was even going to college so community college was an excellent opportunity for me. I wanted to go to college because an educated person is taken seriously. No matter how much background knowledge I have, it won’t matter if I don’t have the education to back it up. I also felt included on campus. I decided to get involved in every facet of the college experience, which helped give me a full college experience that some people in four year schools don’t even get. [Devante served on the Campus Activities Board, the Faculty Student Association board, and worked as a Resident Assistant and Student Ambassador. He also served as the student representative on his community college’s Presidential Search Committee.]
Erin: I chose to go to a community college because it’s exactly that, a community. I still wanted to feel at home and close to my peers instead of being a number in a classroom. What most people don’t understand about community colleges is how well you’re set up for transferring to a 4-year college while being able to stand solidly on a 2-year degree. It’s very flexible, especially if you’re trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. [Erin served as student senate president her second year, was involved with Earth Awareness Club, and held on campus jobs in the Campus Life office an as a Student Ambassador.]
Kyler: I decided to attend a community college for a myriad of reasons: 1) I didn’t know what I wanted to do, 2) I couldn’t afford much, 3) I wasn’t sure how well I would do. I think those are thoughts many people have. Getting involved with college life is an important part of education. One of the reasons colleges have such active social constructs is to inspire students to get involved in something that is potentially meaningful for them as an individual. In reality, getting involved is also training for real life! It builds social skills that will be important for future endeavors. I chose many different avenues through my community college years and these experiences developed my organization and communication skills that I will use for the rest of my life. [Kyler was a Student Senator, Student Ambassador, undergraduate researcher, spoke at scientific conferences, and joined a few clubs.]
Does that sound like 13th grade? I think not.
I’ll leave you with this thought. Community college open-access education provides the option of higher education to many who might not otherwise be able to pursue or return to higher education, and I believe OPTIONS are OPPORTUNITIES. Thank you for reading this month!
This post is part of our #comm_college series, which aims to explore experiences developing community college policies and processes that impact the recruitment, retention, and completion of community college students. What human interest stories do you have of community college student resilience, persistence, and success? What about a stories of transition, challenge, or transformation? A variety of SA pros working in student affairs at a community college will share their insights. For more information, please see Kim Irland’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Chris Conzen on Community Colleges