For many teenagers, college after high school is as routine as checking Facebook.
This idea of who a college student is and what they experience has become so generalized in our society that, unless you are in the educational environment, your definition of a college student’s life may already be set.
For many, that definition is limited to a list of words such as “four years,” “dorms,” “bachelor’s degree,” “parties” and so on. The orthodoxy behind these assumptions has even gone as far as labeling college students as being either a “traditional” or a “nontraditional” student. However, for many other students, this perception of the “four-year university” is a distant dream that may be unattainable for a variety of circumstances. I was once one of those students.
Each month in this column, the Kane County Chronicle features a member of the Waubonsee community who highlights the work of the college and how it is affecting our community. As a student, I feel that it is only fair to give you the most honest depiction of what a community college offers and how it has affected me.
Graduating from Marmion Academy in 2011 was as much an honor as it was a struggle. With a 100 percent graduation rate, college made for a difficult transition. As all my friends moved off to four-year institutions, I was one of the few who would be sitting at home with RA Mom, floormate Shannon (my sister) and the occasional visit to Dean Dad’s office while attending a community college. Shamefully, I had subscribed to many false and outdated stereotypes, and attending community college did not fit my perception of the college experience.
Community college was not part of my agenda until I realized that if I wished to pursue higher education that Waubonsee was my best option. However, in retrospect, it has been the single greatest decision I have ever made, and if given the opportunity again, I would choose Waubonsee every single time.
Waubonsee provides so much more than the conventional “affordability” and “location” that is almost habitual in community college marketing strategies. This college has provided thousands of students with quality education complemented by opportunities that establish applicable experience. Personally, I not only earned the credits that I needed for my baccalaureate degree, but I also gained a second family who encouraged me to take every opportunity to become the best student, professional and person that I could be.
If you are a student or parent preparing for college, take the time to look into Waubonsee. At one time I didn’t, but I’m so glad that I did because my once bleak future is now as vibrant as my dreams.
• KC Vogt recently completed a one-year term as student trustee at Waubonsee Community College. He received an associate degree at the college’s May 23 commencement ceremony, along with 1,127 other graduates as part of the college’s largest graduating class, and will transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree. The “Waubonsee Voices” column runs the third Wednesday of each month in the Kane County Chronicle.