Community college is important and life-changing

Lauren Gardner, Contributing Writer

Why people look negatively upon community college is something that I will never understand.

Yes, school is essential, but it is also essential to understand that not everyone takes the same path in life and that each student’s academic career is different and does not always look the same. 

From personal experience, my journey was much different than everyone else’s. I started at Luzerne County Community College and it was by far, the best decision I ever made in my life.

After I graduated high school, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I felt lost, alone and confused because a lot of my classmates and friends were off to big four-year universities, and I was admittedly embarrassed because I was enrolled at the local community college instead. 

I was reluctant to tell people where I went to school at first because I did not want them to think differently of me. I did not want people to think I wasn’t smart or capable of handling a traditional four-year university, but looking back now, I am very happy I enrolled at community college instead. 

I met so many new people from all walks of life and of all ages and made some amazing memories and lifelong friends along the way. In my English composition class, I befriended a girl named Niashia. We always shared laughs throughout the class and got along well with each other. 

For our class, we had to write about a personal experience that shaped who we are and some shared with the class. My friend shared hers. She wrote about how her best friend was murdered in high school and left a young daughter behind. 

I honestly cannot even recall what I wrote because I was so moved by how she wrote about her experience. From that point, I knew that not everyone had the same experiences in life, and that changed how I looked at others and made me gain empathy and understanding for everyone I met because you never know what is weighing on someone’s mind. 

After the first year at LCCC and changing my major, I found my calling: communications. Community college allowed me to choose so many different options, which were surprising to me because I was not aware that LCCC had so many different career options. This led me to the Advanced Technology Center where communication, digital design, audio production and automotive technology classes were held. In my communication classes, the students all shared a sense of comradery, and the professors were all on a first name basis and taught me so many valuable life skills not just relating to communication. 

 After graduating with my associate’s degree and transferred to Wilkes, it was extremely challenging. I wondered if I had made a mistake coming here as it was such a difficult adjustment to life here. The classes at Wilkes are high in quality but I will admit, the course load was much heavier than I expected. 

How did I go from knowing everyone at school to knowing no one? I again felt really isolated and confused. I was wondering if I made the wrong decision coming here. I will admit, I got lost on my first day and could not find the entrance to the library where my first class, principles of communications, was held.

I was not assigned an e-mentor so I was (still) confused about how things exactly worked here. The communication studies classes were much more different than the ones that I was used to. I felt like my world was suddenly flipped over. 

But once I made friends and found my group of people, I really started to feel like myself again. In fact, I used the valuable life skills and advice my former professors gave to me. Once I began my communication classes here, I started to feel slightly less uncomfortable. 

I then learned that a lot of the classes I took at LCCC my friends still had to take, but (you may not want to read this part) they were significantly cheaper and I even learned some things that were not a requirement for the communication studies curriculum here but I felt really personally improved my academic career. 

As my final semester comes to a close, I am proud to say that community college prepared me for Wilkes, and I would not be who I am today if I did not take the route and listened to everyone else who told me to go to a big university right out of high school. 

My advice to everyone is this: don’t listen to everyone else’s opinion with what you do because it may hinder your unknown opportunities and memories. I am proud to say that I am a Luzerne County Community College graduate, and I cannot wait until I say that I am a proud Wilkes University graduate.