Farewell to CCAC: A student’s reflection before graduation

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Farewell to CCAC: A student’s reflection before graduation

Wills advises students to make room for

Wills advises students to make room for "me time."

Katie Wills

Wills advises students to make room for "me time."

Katie Wills

Katie Wills

Wills advises students to make room for "me time."

Katie Wills, Allegheny Campus Student

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As any student entering a new environment, you may be used to fast-paced classes. Having test after test. Teachers and advisors at any of your high schools pushing you to decide right now who you are and who you want to be. You are constantly forced to ask yourself, “What do you see yourself doing in 20 years?” That was a question I had in the back of my mind in my four years of high school, looking at different colleges and possible degrees I would want to pursue. Everyone has a lifelong dream of who they want to be. It goes back to when you are two or three years old, pretending to be a ballerina, football player, doctor or lawyer. As for me, my lifelong dream was to go to college. I grew up in a family that never went to college or a university. So, this was my chance to prove to my family and myself that I’m going to change the tradition in our family and get an education.

However, learning for me wasn’t easy. I am hard of hearing and have comprehension problems. So, like so many other students, I struggled to learn even the simplest lessons. I had to focus on what I was reading or teaching. I was told, at one time, I wouldn’t be able to handle college or my degree in teaching. People can be cruel, and words do hurt. I believed them for the longest time. Then one day, I had this amazing professor that taught me I could be anything I wanted to be despite my learning problem. Instead, I was taught a different set of skills to help me accomplish what I just wasn’t processing.

In my high school years, I was also learning how to be a sister. I was an only child until I was 14 years old. I had never been so excited to be a big sister. I wanted to help all the time and show my baby sister the world. When she was born, I never expected the physical and mental changes in my family and life. Growing up, I was quiet and kept to myself—very paranoid and nervous, trying new things. I didn’t have strong confidence in myself. Being an older sister has taught me how to get out of my bubble more and do the unthinkable. The “Don’t think just do it” act. I wanted to be a role model that my sister would look up to and show that college is an awesome experience, despite how hard it was to get to where I am today. It will be achieved in my family. “Can’t do it!” wasn’t a phrase in my vocabulary…

When I first arrived at CCAC, it was overwhelming. So many buildings and a lot of walking. It was more than I was accustomed to. There seemed to be students and staff everywhere. But everyone was welcoming and kind. I made sure I grabbed maps of the campus and all the flyers. Though I wasn’t going to look at them then, I made sure I looked through them later that evening. My favorite is the Student Life planner. It has all the events and clubs and monthly calendar to keep track of your homework or extracurricular activities. I make sure I get a new one every semester. One of the events I enjoy a lot is the monthly painting party. It’s a great way to relax and just enjoy art. Forgetting all the stresses of due dates and exams. You can get overwhelmed by being at CCAC. It will happen to you as it did to me a few times. The goal is to not stress yourself out and manage your time wisely. Also, make room for “me time.” Celebrate the smallest accomplishments too. A good grade, a paper or presentation finished.

What CCAC has taught me was you don’t need to have all the answers right now. No matter how long it takes to get there. Whether you must take a break or drop out for a few semesters, the goal is don’t completely forget about your education! Life will throw you off track more times than one. It’s up to you to have that motivation and push yourself, saying “Hey, I got to get back to my degree.” A wise lady once told me, “There’s so much education out there to learn. You’ll never learn it all in a lifetime. But learn as much as you can in this lifetime! Grasp it! Don’t let it float away!”