College can be one of the most important times in a person’s life and making lofty decisions can feel like an overwhelming task. Every person is on his or her own path in life, and college is no exception. I have come to many cross sections on my path, and I have chosen what was best for me, regardless of what those around me might have been doing.
I didn’t start out as confident in my choices though. I graduated a semester early from Rochester High School in December of 2016, and planned to transfer to a university in the fall of 2017, after spending the spring at Lincoln Land Community College. Not long after starting at LLCC, I fell in love with the college and quickly decided to stay for a year, but graduate a year early. After another semester, I realized that graduating early wouldn’t earn me anything but bragging rights and an overbooked schedule.
Finally, I decided to make an educated decision to slow down and graduate on time with my class, enroll in creative classes that interested me instead of purely for my major, and take full advantage of the resources available at a full size library and tutoring center serving students for free.
There were a handful of key reasons for me to choose and stay at LLCC. One of my most valuable incentives has been my job on campus. I have held the same student worker position since I arrived. I have earned many hours of experience in a job that I love and is essentially a paid internship in my exact field of study. The experience has gone way beyond what a freshman or sophomore would have even been able to apply for at a university.
Another major motivator was access to engaging professors. I have taken many courses and never had a single professor that I didn’t enjoy. However, there were three standouts that have made lasting impacts on me. First, Dr. Collin Suchland, who teaches sociology and inspired me to minor in his subject, and Dr. John Squibb, who taught my section of political science, both had no competition for my full attention. I looked forward to sitting in their classes and was actually disappointed and disbelieving when their lectures were over. Though I wasn’t naturally drawn to biology, Susan Reynolds made an intimidating class easy to understand and comfortable for asking questions.
While taking some harder classes that didn’t come naturally to me, I was grateful to have smaller class sizes to have more access to my professors. By taking advantage of the resources available, I was able to earn a 4.0 grade point average each semester while at LLCC, granting me access to the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and the honors program at my transfer university. Had I gone to a university as a freshman, I would have been earning the same credits for a higher price with less access to important resources.
One of my favorite things about LLCC has been how helpful the staff has been to me. I have built rapport with many of the employees who have gone way above and beyond to extend hands of support and guidance. Starting in 2016 when I attended my first Campus Visit Day, I saw first-hand how important student success is to individuals working at the college.
Community colleges are all about investing in the community and educating individuals in the area. LLCC has invested so much in me and my fellow classmates. I hope to be able to provide return on their investment by coming back and enriching the community that has helped me become who I am today.