Personal Essay: My Community College Experience

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Through high school my grades weren’t the best. I enjoyed challenging classes, but they were a lot of work. Between the work load and problems at home, I didn’t keep up well. By spring of my senior year I realized my hopes of leaving the small town I lived in weren’t going to happen. A friend who worked at the local community college contacted me about attending classes in the fall. After a failed attempt at joining the military, I decided to attend community college. Today, I’m glad that I had to stay. The last three years have taught me many things about surviving and who I want to be.
Surviving isn’t something people really want to think about. Most people want that American dream. They want to live, not just exist. I’ve spent most of my
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Though I lived near family, it was a hard experience. Everything I learned growing up, all of the struggles, became assets. Supporting myself became my fully time job. Fitting school in wasn’t an option. But, I still had extra time. So, I volunteered with a local adult education program called Sound Learning. They asked me to help teach English to Spanish speakers. My Spanish skills needed to be taken out and dusted off, so I agreed. It never crossed my mind that I could get something more out of it. Walking into that classroom was the beginning of my journey to become a teacher. The class was mostly Guatemalan men who spoke broken English. I was surprised to see how short they were! Oh but they could brighten my day like nothing else. I loved teaching them. The burden of not understanding the primary language around them was immense. I discovered the impact I got the privilege of making on their lives at the end of my first quarter as a volunteer. The end of the quarter was celebrated by a party and ceremony to congratulate the students’ hard work. I waited expecting the certificates to be handed out first. I was surprised when the coordinator asked me to come up. I walked to the front, waiting. She presented me with a thank you card from my students. I began to tear up as I read some of their beautiful English sentences. It was filled with their gratitude over the simplest things that I never thought twice
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