When I told my friends I was going back to college, I got a variety of responses. Some were, “Wow. That is great!” and asked what I would be studying. Others were, “Wow. I am not sure I would ever want to go back to college at….your age.” I just laughed, knowing that the thought may be daunting to someone who isn’t programmed like I am. My parents were lifelong learners, and I guess it is in my blood.
Still, some waves of doubt ebbed and flowed, and some pesky questions intruded into my already made-up mind. Would I do well? Do I have what it takes? Will I be able to keep up with people less than half my age? As the academic year comes to a close, I have found the answers to all of those questions, and the answer is a resounding YES.
As I reflect on end of this first year, I marvel in the opportunities I have had on my return to academia. Kirkwood has provided an accepting and fruitful place in which I can learn and practice new skills and hone talents I never knew I had in me.
Although some see KCC as just a stepping off point to something “bigger and better,” I urge everyone to take advantage of all the opportunities available here before moving on to another institution or into the work force.
It will be hard to find such variety in programming, such financial support or such caring instructors anywhere else.
The professors in my studies have been absolutely incredible. If anyone ever doubts the quality of instruction you are able to obtain at a community college, I urge you to refer them to me for a heart-to-heart chat.
My first degree was from a four-year state college, and I can genuinely say the care of the Kirkwood instructors, their approachability and their desire to see students thrive in their chosen field make a world of difference.
The many student groups available, in my case the Communique and Kirkwood Student Productions, have been an amazing introduction to the fields in which I am most interested.
They have also connected me with some truly talented individuals with whom I can collaborate on projects of shared interest.
If I had but one piece of advice for those wondering about how to get the most out of their time here at Kirkwood, it would be to join at least one student group – and to do it sooner rather than later. The connections forged will serve students well, both inside and outside of classes. The friendships forged will likely be the ones that will remain long after leaving this campus and entering “the real world.”
Cherish and make the best of your time here. A big congratulations to those graduating this semester – may your next steps bring you fulfillment and purpose.
I wish all students, faculty and staff a wonderful summer, and I hope to see you returning next year as we start a new academic year.
JoEllen is a non-traditional student, wife and mother – learning new skills in the Digital Arts program at Kirkwood. She is a writer, photographer, digital artist and lover of life.