Was there a moment you knew you belonged in college? A specific moment you engaged? Describe it.
The exact moment I realized I belonged in college was when I drove a car full of my friends and I into that lake that one time as I thought to myself, “This feels right.”
John—Was it driving into the lake that made you feel that way or was it being with friends? 🙂 I remember a similar feeling, building a new set of relationships in college and then suddenly realizing that they were friends. Establishing a new circle of friends from college is essential. This is definitely part of a successful college experience.
I can think of a couple of moments from my first year of college … My first college writing assignment. The task was to compare Socrates’ quotation “The unexamined life is not worth living.” with a t-shirt slogan “The unlived life is not worth examining.” — my essay was returned with “See Me” written at the top of the page, and lots of critical comments written all over the essay. Alice Bloom, my professor, challenged me to dig deeper and stretch myself intellectually, as I was capable of creating something far better than I had, She became the first mentor in my life, and through her I discovered my love for learning and examining the big questions in life.
The other experience was playing basketball with several of my new-found friends from my residence hall in the middle of a hurricane … I had lots of bonding experiences like this, that changed the trajectory of my life, and likely explains why I decided on a career in academia, to which my oldest brother still teases that I never left college … and he’s right!
Love the post Gary. Playing basketball in a hurricane could only happen in college! I really like the idea that through these experiences, the trajectory of your life was altered. I feel the same way.
I distinctly remember feeling a sense of belonging, a sense of finding something new inside of me in an early zoology class (Dr. DeJung) and two polisci classes (Dr. Kann and Dr. Nyomarky). All three inspired me and ignited my early academic life. The three of them treated me like I had something to contribute–something to say–that had legitimate academic value. What a gift! If the three of you ever read thi
s blog, THANK YOU.
The moment I finally made the decision to go back to school was when I realized that after four years of working for the man, I had nothing to show for it. I became disillusioned with the inherent value of a hard days work. You’re only entitled to just enough to keep you alive and producing. Fuck that. Play the game and survive long enough to exploit, or be the exploited. There are no half measures.
Anonymous–when I was in college, I had a summer job a few times milking cows. I used to love it for about 3 weeks, and then the mind-numbing routine of the work would set in and I would long for the semester to begin. I don’t think of a college degree as something that allows me to eventually exploit others, but I agree with you that it puts the degree holder in a position where they are less likely to be exploited.
As an individual who possesses a keen interest in the craft of writing, I felt that an immediate response to this question would not sufficiently represent me as a student and individual. Upon receiving this email, I initially disregarded it. However, over the span of a few short days, I was able to mindfully brainstorm for a response that was adequate, by my own terms, and will provide you with a unique insight of my educational journey thus far. This account is solely based on my personal experiences and ever-changing perception of the vast world of academia.
Based on my individual experience as a young adult and student, I couldn’t possibly define one moment as the capstone event that solidified my desire to attend school. There were several deserving moments early on in my academic career that have been building blocks for my growth as a student; but not one in particular. I do believe that attending college is completely an individual choice, but the reason behind that choice may vary entirely from one individual to the next. Right out of high school, I enrolled at Crafton because I felt that it wasn’t my choice to make. As a young adult, there certainly is a great amount of pressure to make decisions that pave the way for the future. I felt the pressures of society weigh down on my decisions; a pressure to conform and amount to a level of predetermined standards.
As a result, there was an immediate lack of desire to learn and willingness to selflessly sacrifice numerous hours towards gaining knowledge and productively channeling my efforts for success. I became complacent with satisfactory performance; I was a student plagued by mediocrity. This mindset translated into how I lived outside of the classroom. In other words, for the first time in my life, my agenda and activities were rooted with the idea of “simply going through the motions.” This dilemma may also have been based on my lack of direction in the schooling system; I hadn’t yet realized my passion or found any usefulness for school. At that point, I was performing well below my ability simply because I did not know where I stood or where I was heading.
This experience felt like a deep abyss with no exit. I found myself constantly searching for some level of solace. Finally, the exit presented itself. My first year at Crafton was an enormous plateau. I finished that first year with good grades; not exceptional. Entering my second year, I felt that I had the potential to maximize my experience at Crafton and be the student I once was prior to the hazy first year. Fortunately, I enrolled in a critical thinking and composition course. From that point on, my education journey has only been trending in a positive direction. I can say, unequivocally, that this course made me realize my potential. Solid efforts were implemented early on in the semester and directly paralleled my performance in other classes. While in this course, I acquired several invaluable educational and life skills. Among these are the art of critical thinking, interpersonal communication skills, time management, and the ability to participate in group work and delegate when the task at hand demanded me to do so. I became captivated by this course; from conversations with my professor and peers to the demanding reading list that set precedence for my genuine, newfound interest to read and learn. I utilized a useful revision process that demanded rigorous work to create essays that were properly structured and well-written. My interest to continue my education and maximize my potential certainly stemmed from this critical thinking and composition course. The timing of this course was very befitting; especially after my less-than-stellar performance during my freshman year.
Let me punctuate my thoughts simply to avoid being fallacious and to avoid the use of clichés. My journey through education has been filled with failures, triumphs, and epiphany-like moments. I feel that those moments collectively influenced who I am as a student today. I am constantly channeling my creativity and originality towards my rigorous academic schedule. I do not see myself breaking this anytime soon; it is much too invigorating to sacrifice again.
That post is a triumph JR! I like what you said about being “plagued by mediocrity” and enjoyed reading about the turnaround. Inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it.
The day I was “kicked out” of college and found myself in the Air Force I knew I had made a mistake. I had a full ride scholarship – gone. I was supposed to start pilot trainging – gone. I was a grunt and I did not like it. I took care of my time in the Air Force. When I returned to college, I was that student other students hate. I sat on the front row; stayed engaged in the learning process; and ruined the curve for the rest of the students. I intended to never again be a grunt! My past experience allows me to better relate to the young, immature students in the classroon today – they are just as I was fifty years ago.
The moment I realize that college was for me was after my fist week of my second semester. Since my first semester I didn’t get to have any desirable classes due to low priority. My second semester I finally got some classes I liked, and after attending those classes I realized I really liked to learn. From there on out I have been an extremely engaged student with academics, and I knew then that this was a place I could belong to.
First day of class with Ted Phillips my second semester. There’s a reason why so many of his students return for future classes. The man has the ability to help his students become excited about education, and that’s pretty awesome if you ask me.
The right professor makes all the difference. I had a chance to evaluate Dr. Phillips last semester. He is clearly an outstanding teacher. I have seen comment after comment like yours from his former students.
The moment I knew I belonged in college is when I was in my American Sign Language class, the summer of 2013. I knew that this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to help people. I wanted to communicate with the Deaf, and not everyone could do it. I knew I was learning and that I would be able to make a difference in the world.
Your post reminds me of what it was like to discover Political Science. I had the same feeling (a few decades ago) taking a political theory course. What a great feeling to find your passion!
I knew that i belonged in college is during my spring semester, when i noticed that I saw a bunch of people playing super smash brothers on the cafeteria. This is because i found a group of socially adjustable nerds to hang out with.
You found your people!
Starting my higher education at a community college was not part of my plan. There was plenty of stigma around attending a two year institution, rather than a four year university, but today I cherish every experiences Crafton Hills College has offered me. My first year at Crafton was far from perfect, and it was not until I joined our STEM Pathways when I finally felt I belonged in college. Our STEM program was the support I needed to feel welcome. Thanks to this project there was always someone fighting along my side, but more importantly, I now had a group of individuals who cared about my academic aspirations. To be clear, I knew I belonged in college once I stopped being just a number. So thank you, to everyone behind Crafton’s STEM Pathways, you reassured me that I matter.
Cesar—Nice to hear your story. The centrality of “joining” something on campus is what stick out to me in you post. This is why we are placing such an emphasis on ENGAGE. Thanks for reminding everyone why it is important.
While I understand that you don’t want to be just a number, I do want you to know that you were my first STEMTrek student. Which means that, by default, you will always be my NUMBER ONE! I’ve received word of your recent acceptance letters. Congratulations! I wish you the best in all that you do and I am so very proud of you.
I always knew that I belonged in college. I was always a very good student in school, I got all A’s and B’s. And I liked school, it was a way for me to become more knowledgeable and learn more. A specific moment I knew I belonged in college was when I was my Fall semester. I was doing really well in all of my classes and my professors thought the same. I knew that being in school was where I needed to be and it was a great environment for me.
I remember the same feeling. There is something wonderful about a professor acknowledging your good work.
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There is this incredible overwhelming feeling in life when you realize that what you have just is not enough and that you are meant for so much more. I am generally an untrusting person with a hard exterior yet there was something in life that literally crushed my heart. It was seeing so many unhealthy and overweight people. I hear a lot of individuals get made fun of because of their weight and it just crushes my heart. I knew instantly I had to do something to help. And that’s what reminds me every day that being in college is the right thing for me. I’m working hard to help people have the same confidence and success that I feel out of my life.
Alexandria–I really like your motivation to serve. It is the same idea that motivated me through college, grad school . . . even my work yesterday. We can serve people and help enrich their lives at any point, but keep moving forward with your degree, because you will be able to help more people with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
I always felt and “knew” I had to be in college because I knew it would be best for me.
My parents always told me how important it was to get an education and blah blah.
But I remember this very distinctive moment that I realized that I needed to me and belonged in college.
It was my second year in college.
I was working a minimum wage job at Finish Line.
Finish Line is a shoe company, similar to FootLocker.
I would work my BUTT of to earn a decent pay check. I would hustle everyone and everything. I would work so hard that when I would get tired, my feet hurt so bad and my eyes were always drooping for sleep.
I remember one day seeing my pay check, and was so mad.
I worked my butt off every day, I never called off, and I would cover for anyone when they asked!
My pay check was not what I thought I could earned.
I realized I don’t want to live my life paycheck to paycheck.
I deserved better.
The only way I knew I could get better was to get a college degree.
I knew right then and there I belonged in college.
Not just for myself but for a family that I would want to have in the future.
I was not satisfied. So I ended of quitting that job and focused on school 110%.
There is a definite correlation between higher Ed degrees and higher income. Smart move Chelsea!
I always knew I was going to go to college, it just never actively thought about it. It was always in the back of my head but it wasn’t until one day at work when I realized that I need to get more serious about what college I would attend and what career choice I would pursue.
It was a grueling day at work that caused me to really think about what I wanted to do with my future. I worked with a rental maintenance company, which managed rental houses. When something went wrong with one of these houses, a team of workers would be sent out to fix the problem.
I was part of that team. It was an extremely hot southern California summer where the temperature was above one hundred degrees. Our team was sent out to dig trenches so that we could install a new sprinkler system for a front yard. In the middle of that project was when I knew that I didn’t want to do this for the rest of my life.
I then got serious about college, started planning my goals, and now I am a full time student and a full time employee at a different job.
The moment I realized that I belonged in College was when I took an English course last semester and realized my passion for learning . Last semester I took English 102 ( Critical Thinking) with Dr. Phillips and he taught me so many things, like creating a successful research paper, at first it was very challenging because I had not taken an English course in a while. He taught me to go back to basics and then I noticed that the more I struggled the more I learned; like writing and doing research about many controversial subjects. I had always enjoyed my previous Psychology classes so I decided to write my final research paper on Bipolar Disorder. I love learning about mental illnesses, and the human mind. I have found my passion in life, my main goal is to be able to help people with mental disorders. I am looking forward to transferring to Cal state San Bernardino and getting my Bachelor’s in Psychology and then getting my Master’s in Clinical Social Work. I have really enjoyed meeting new people here at Crafton Hills College; it has definitely changed my prospective of learning, I love our beautiful green campus and we have so many great students and teachers.
There have been many moments when I have felt that I belonged at Crafton Hills College. The beauty of the emerald green campus grabbed me immediately. Then the many smiling, friendly, student throughout the campus who has been kind and accepting of me, that fact never ceases to amaze me. There are many helpful people around campus like the many Professors who give up their Saturday mornings to donate their time to tutor student in math. I also appreciate Ms. Warren who took the time to talk with me and made me feel like my point of view is valued. I felt accepted at CHC when Professor Burke wrote me a nice recommendation letter, Professor Bartlett let me add his class on short notice and the admission board who allowed me petition, appeal and repetition to take a class that I needed and then approved the class for me. Another group on campus that has been very helpful has been the EOPS office and the supervisor Rejoice they have help me with book grants which has allowed me to purchase my many books needed here at CHC; also the Financial Aid office has come in handy. I enjoyed going on a field trips with Professor Julie Mc Kee’s Sociology Club to LA and Hollywood on the Metro Link and finally I felt I belonged at CHC when I could see my graduation date in the horizon. I will graduate this spring then return in the summer and fall to continue on with more of my education. I am still here and I do not plan on leaving any time soon so you see I feel I belong at CHC.
The moment I truly felt like I belonged in college was when I found what I was passionate about and what I decided on my major. My major is nutrition and dietetics and I enjoy learning about healthy eating and natural, whole foods. I believe food is the best healing and I want to be a dietician to help people and make them feel good, so when I took a nutrition and health class my first semester at Crafton I really enjoyed it and it was such a great class. I was always learning new things and engaging myself in the conversation with the class and Ms. Ledoux. That was when college didn’t feel like a chore, or something I had to do, it became something I wanted to do in order to fulfill my passion. I still continue to feel this way because after each test I am that much closer and it keeps me going! School is challenging at times, but I try to work as hard as I can to transfer faster to reach my goals faster and know all the struggles will be worth it!
I always knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up”, but I never thought I would actually be able to reach that goal. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a nurse. I enjoy taking care of people and seeing their lives improve. I have empathy and compassion and it is rewarding for me to help others. I have always worked in the medical field, but not to the degree I had hoped. I started working as a medical assistant and a care giver and enjoyed that very much. The pay was low, so I picked up a part-time waitressing job to help make ends meet. As the cost of living was steadily rising, my income was not. I was forced to pick up another part-time job as a cocktail waitress. Things were going well, although I had no spare time for myself. I was enjoying my life for the most part, but could never seem to get caught up. I was working my life away and when I slowed down to think about things for just a moment, I realized I was working my fingers to the bone and not helping anyone in the process… not even myself. I had worked a typical 75+ hour work week and went to bed exhausted on a Saturday night. I was excited I had a morning to sleep in the next day and was surprised when I found myself wide awake at 5am that Sunday morning. I couldn’t sleep even though I was completely drained, but I refused to get out of bed. As I laid there, I decided that something had to change. I needed to go to college and at least attempt my dream of becoming a nurse. If I couldn’t make it, at least I could say I tried. So that’s what I did! I made a plan and stuck to it. I enrolled in my first semester of college and was so proud of myself. I will never forget that morning, the realization of what I was doing hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to make a change. I had to do something worthwhile. I had to get a college education. I still have a long road ahead of me, but at least now I’m on the right path.
I had postponed the inevitable as long as I could, I had to sign up for Algebra. I struggled with feelings of dread, apprehension and finally steeled myself for the long semester. Studying day and night and tutor after tutor rendered the same grade written at the top right hand corner of each exam– “F”. I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to take Algebra a second time and decided I was going to drop the class–it made no sense to waste two plus hours twice a week to fail a class. While I felt a huge burden lift off my shoulders, I felt inadequate and a complete failure. It was the same day when a close friend, hearing of my decision, told me to watch a YouTube video “The boy who passed math.”
I did not quit and passed Algebra with a “B”; I am “set for life!” I am grateful for this amazing, uplifting video, for the friend who reminded me to never, ever quit, and for the instructor who patiently explained problems over and over again, infinitely. For those of you who say, “I’ll never use Algebra” and “What a waste of time and money,” I have found Algebra/math in many unexpected places–medical articles re: research on fractional patterns in the way people walk, the science of wine making (my personal favorite), and archaeological findings using the words “carbon dating.” In closing, mathematics can be found in all fields– music, philosophy, and many other seemingly non-mathematical fields. But most importantly, Algebra reminded me the significance of experiencing the journey of education and not just the destination.
I knew I should go to college in a bit of an unorthodox way. I hated the generic classes of high school and the set schedules and when looking into college I could make my own schedule in a way. The only engagement I really do in college is making a few new friends and if people need my help for like an event. I’ll help if I don’t have work conflicting with it.
The moment I knew I belonged in college was when I finally found my passion. I thought pharmacy was what I wanted to be, but when I started taking taking general ed classes, I realized there was so much more then pharmacy. One class that I thought I was going to hate but ended up loving was Art History with Mrs. McCambly. Every teacher I’ve had taught me to never give up. It was wonderful to get to know each teacher.
I also knew I belonged in college was when I started working at the Transfer Center with the most wonderful counselor Mariana Moreno. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much about the different universities. I am really glad I got to know so many great people at Financial Aid, Bookstore, and the Honors Lounge. Whenever I have a problem, they are always willing to help me.
All those moments made me feel like I belonged at Crafton.
I have truly been in college for two semesters now. I say truly because I have made a solid commitment to myself to continue with my education in pursuit of a doctoral degree in psychology. The most defining moment of my college experience occurred during my first semester at Crafton. I had hit rock bottom. I was stressed, depressed and felt i could not continue my pursuit of educational, personal and social advancement, but somehow I pulled through. With the encouragement of family, friends, mentors such as professors and with the guidance of therapy provided by the health and wellness center, and most importantly Jesus Christ, I have accepted my role as a human being, unlocking the potential I harness to do good for myself and those around me. The knowledge has always been in sight but the acceptance has been far off. This may seem very general but to be specific, I have accepted that I do not know everything. The more I know know the more I do not. I have also acted on initiative. I do not rely on my past ideals of how thing are supposed to work out. Instead I do everything in my power to work them out so I will benefit from it acknowledging and hoping others to will benefit from my advancement. For instance, if a friend is disruptive to a certain area of the class I will say politely “Hey dude your disrupting the class” my approach varies. I continue to work on my social and personal development everyday. College only encourages self and social development. Its a great thing because of the diverse nature of circumstances which present itself time and time again. To conclude, for any student whom reads this and has had the strength to read it all the way through thank you, and I encourage you to utilize all areas in which college can help develop you as a human being because you all are capable of doing amazing things for yourself, family, community, country, world and by the way movies interpretation technological advancement, space!
It actually took me quite a while to feel like I belonged in college. To tell you the truth I only realized it this semester that is coming to a close. It also happens to be my last semester at a community college. I’ve taken a couple psychology courses since I decided it was my major, but oddly enough I still had a hard time feeling like I belonged in this major. My family is all obsessed with anything in the medical field and I haven’t looked at as highly for picking a field that isn’t going to guarantee me a hefty income. I chose it because I thought that I was always able to read people well and people tended to come to me for advice so I thought maybe there was something to that. I realized I belonged here this semester though because I really felt like I was contributing to the class discussions. It felt like, yes I do have something to contribute! I have something to say that maybe no one else thought of, or couldn’t see right away. And the more I’ve been learning the more I feel like I have a powerful kind of knowledge that not everyone has. Now I feel more than ever that I belong in the field that I’m in. No I’m not guaranteed a lot of money, security, or a fast-track to a career, but I’ve never felt like I could do something more easily in my life. I’ve struggled with being an artist among other things but psychology seems to come easy to me, and thats comforting. I think the real “aha” moment was when I first contributed to the class discussion at the beginning of school in my Personal & Social Adjustment class. Now I’m going to be transferring to a UC in the fall and I feel more than ready for my field of work at my new school.
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