Tuesday, April 7, 2015

College of Lake County

As many of you wonderful readers know, I've been studying at CLC, or the College of Lake County, for almost three years now. I've taken many classes, although I've only been considered 'full time' for one semester. I've made friends, I met my boyfriend, and I've learned so much.

This is why it makes me sad when people criticize CLC for being the 'college of last chance,' or when they say that only failures go there because it's easier than a four year school.

Let me tell you something.
It is not. Easier. Than. A. Four. Year. Institution.
I have professors, such as my English professor, who taught at four year institutions and quit to work at CLC because they found the students to be more driven and focused. I have other professors who are teaching part time after having something like 50 years experience in their fields. Our nursing program is excellent; we have one of the highest rates of people passing their nursing exams and becoming certified. Our fire safety department is extraordinary, there's a two year dental hygienist program, and many people simply go for two years to save something like $35,000 per year on prerequisite classes.

There is nothing easy about our academics.

Also, none of our classes are taught by TA's. All are taught by a professor or instructor who has experience in their field. I've only had two or three professors in three years who have not learned my name, my major, and my learning style. The largest class I've taken was, I believe, either Intro to Humanities or English Comp I. Although I despised my Humanities professor, even he managed to learn my name and still greets me in the hallways, and my English professor has me as one of her research assistants and has been invited to my graduation.

There is nothing sub-par about our professors.

The students are driven. Sure, we have some slackers, but if you look at our chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (of which I am a member), you'd probably be astonished at the amount of students who have created and maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher. We have around 50 clubs and organizations, all of which have regular gatherings, and most of which perform service projects. We have organized study times and groups, There are tutors everywhere, and as someone who only passed physics thanks to the tutoring section, I can tell you that they are excellent AND popular. The writing tutors are usually busy, there's always a librarian around if you need help with something, and if you visit our computer labs you'll probably find all of the computers full with people writing papers or completing research.

CLC isn't for people who just can't make it into a four year institution.

If you visit the atrium of CLC, and if you sit and listen to some of the conversations, you'll realize that most of the students are discussing politics, religion, sexuality, foreign affairs. They discuss their classes, the curriculum, the college-run events, philosophy, and social injustices for fun. They care about each other; if you stop and ask someone where to find a room, they'll always try to point you in the right direction and half of the time someone will volunteer to walk with you and help you find where you're trying to get.

Look. Stop criticizing CLC for simply being a community college. Yes, it's small. It's cheap. We're not the flashiest school. Our walls are mostly cinderblock.
But here's the thing:
Everybody who is at CLC genuinely wants to be there. They want to learn, and they aren't going to let things like cost or distance stand in their way. They aren't there because their mom and dad made them apply, or there to party and waste money. We're there because we care about what we're doing and what we're learning.
We're there to better our lives.