College experience: up to you


Ellianna Shields

Campus Current Associate Editor Sam Gauntt says community college presents a good opportunity to get life experiences.

Sam Gauntt, Associate Editor

It was 6 p.m. on a late November Thursday last year and the last blotches of crimson sunlight were dancing on my wall while I took an online exam. 

Sitting in my room struggling with logarithms, I realized I didn’t feel particularly connected to the college I attended. I was already finishing my second semester but I hadn’t set foot on campus because of my online class schedule. 

I wanted to change this. I was going to be here for two years, so I felt I should make it the best experience I could. Over the spring semester I began to attend online events and tried to get a feel for the college. Even being on campus for proctored exams made me feel more engaged at AACC.

This problem is not unique. I know many community college students, and particularly dual-enrollment students like me, who don’t feel involved on campus. It can be easy to show up for your classes and then just go home.

Getting involved in a new situation can be intimidating, but I think all of us should take the risk anyway. You might be surprised to find there is a welcoming community waiting for you here. 

Joining the student newspaper last April was what made me truly feel connected here. I found a team of people who I care about and love to work with. I made new friends, I knew what was going on around campus and I found a community that welcomed me. 

Now I’m the associate editor of Campus Current as a dual-enrollment student, and I look forward to coming to school every day. I will always be glad I went to that first meeting with the paper, and I encourage every student to do something similar. 

No matter if you are here getting your associate degree, taking dual-enrollment credits or if you are an older student taking classes in your spare time, your experience here should not have to be lonely and only focused on classes. Whether it’s joining a student organization, forming a study group, eating lunch with your classmates or working for the student newspaper, there are plenty of ways to find people and a place for you.

Don’t count out community college for an engaging social experience. Joining clubs, attending events or even going to a Zoom meeting could be all it takes to improve your educational experience. 

Your time here is up to you, so make it the best it can be.