I first came to Bellevue College a year ago. I was fresh out of high school and one of two in my graduating class not to go to a traditional four-year school. It was a really hard decision to go against the norm and frankly, pretty scary to choose a route that was considered, “stupid and a dead end.”
I struggled to rise above these opinions, but soon I began to believe them.
After a year at BC, I’ve realized how wrong I was. BC certainly could have been a dead end; it’s a result that’s far too common at community colleges. But it’s also not the only option. The best part about BC is that it’s an experience that can be tailored to every single student. Whatever the reason for going to BC- a chance to save money for university, a chance to raise that GPA or just a chance to find out who you are as a person–however long it takes you, by the time you leave BC, you will be far more equipped to handle anything that comes your way. But it’s up to you to utilize the sources available to you in order to achieve everything you want.
I worked harder in my one year at BC than I’ve ever worked in my entire life. Maintaining several jobs as well as up to 20 credits a quarter was not easy. But doing well gave me the confidence I needed to continue doing better. I finished my associate a year earlier and I know exactly where I’m headed. That’s something I would have never been able to do had I gone to a traditional college. I had the time and resources to discover myself and build upon that.
It angers me that community colleges have such poor reputations. Bellevue College was the stepping stone to the rest of my life. It’s not the ideal college experience I envisioned in high school, but it has prepared me for my future better than any party scene and dorm life could.
I know I don’t yet have the physical proof of what BC has helped me achieve, but I don’t have a doubt that I will achieve it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time at BC, it is that the most important factor is caring. Regardless of how well you study, what school you’re at or how much money you have—caring will carry you wherever you’re going. So many people I’ve met here have created this self-fulfilling prophecy that they will fail; and so they do. I think that a big reason for that is the stigma that comes with being a community college student and that has to change.
I promise that as long as you care and you do something about it—you’ll be able to succeed in whatever you set your mind to.
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Good luck, Rachelle in all your future endeavors! You will be missed.