First Week Back

It’s been over a week since my last post, and I’ve just completed my first week at SUNY Purchase. It’s already been challenging, but in a much needed way. I have been asked to think even more critically, and to not be afraid to speak my thoughts. I am really looking forward to the discourse in my classes, and to being busy, for a change.

I have tried to check out the college’s student-run publications with not much luck, but it was the first week after all. It can take a while for things to pick up. One of my classes has provided me with two things that I could possibly publish here. One of them is that Janet Reitman, who wrote the sensational Rolling Stone article Jahar’s World on Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will be having a conversation with one of my professors, Chris Raymond, who is also a freelance multimedia journalist, writer and editor with experience in today’s popular men’s magazines.

So, being a new student trying to find her footing at a very different college will take a lot of getting used to, but I am happy to be busy again. At least for now. I am still having my views on Touré’s book still simmer. I want to have the time to choose the right words.

In Defence of Community College Students

I recently read somewhere that it’s not where you go, but what you do when you get there. I’ve also noticed quite a few jokes about community colleges; with one pertaining to earning a degree there will only get you as far as managing a McDonald’s. Cute.

On May 23, I earned my Journalism degree from one of the largest and best community colleges in the country. I was in the STEM stream before I moved to America, namely Biomedical Science. Maybe it was how most of my friends were in the Arts, or the fact that I sometimes feel I have too many interests that I decided to enter this stream when I enrolled as a Liberal Arts major in Fall 2010, deciding to be one of the college’s first Journalism graduates the very next semester. I had the luck of getting a great education from a very respectable staff, and working at the college’s award-winning student-run newspaper, not to mention the lovely price of tuition for international students that my parents and I will miss dearly. My Alma Mater is known to be a “slacker school”, but I stopped myself going down that slippery slope because time was and is running out (and so is money and my mother’s patience), and I still have a lot of things I want to do.

I guess this was something that sprung to mind, especially since I have been meaning to write, period. The feeling that I should put this down, and where even one person would see it, has been creeping up on me. I just needed to sit down and write.

Yes, I went to a community college. Yes, some people snicker and feel that community colleges are subpar, and feel most from one won’t get far. There are many people now enrolling in these colleges, to get ahead at work or to get a whole new set of skills to try to make it in today’s big bad world. I am one of them, and proud. I have a drive that few get from attending colleges and universities of all sizes and status. One of the guest speakers at my commencement was a graduate of my Alma Mater, and he has people working for him that went to Harvard. Just putting it out there.

I might sound banal for saying this, but don’t judge me or other community college graduates that have actually done well. We are a growing breed, and in quite a few ways may be more prepared for the ups and downs academia and life throw at us. Some of us have quietly made a place for ourselves, and are ready to expand our horizons where you, dear reader, may be studying or have graduated from. I’m not bashing you for ending up at one of the best schools in the country; in fact, I congratulate you on that. Just have some respect from those of us who start small, for we might end up much bigger someday.  

You hear this every year too, that this year’s graduating class is the best. I’m going to end this by saying that mine is a pretty impressive group, and the only way for us is up. I know where to look for opportunities regarding my career-choice when I transfer. I like surprising people, especially those who may doubt me for no real reason at all. I am more than ready to start.