BY MELISSA DELLACATO
Forty-five percent of all United States undergraduates are community college students, according to a recent study by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
Many of these students attend a community college, such as County College of Morris, directly out of high school — but not all.
Kacie Elms is an example. She graduated from Mount Olive High School in 2010 and set out to attend Lock Haven University, a four-year institution in Pennsylvania.
The experience wasn’t exactly what she had hoped for; as a result of loneliness and distance from home, she fell into a state of depression. “I didn’t want to get out of bed,” she said. “I had no motivation.”
Because adjusting to a university can be difficult, just as it was for Elms, starting out at a community college is sometimes the better option. In fact, 71 percent of the public supports this idea, according to the AACC.
After her second semester, Elms decided to transfer to CCM and had a more positive experience. “Being around people again brought me out of my depression,” Elms said.
Another student, Lorenzo Cesaro, graduated from Roxbury High School in 2010 and entered the military. He was so used to being “told what to do 24/7,” so he was in for a surprise when he came to CCM.
“Transitioning from such a uniform lifestyle to a place with so much freedom was a little difficult,” he said. “The freedom was a shocking factor.”
These students adjusted from differing environments before attending CCM, but experience similar transitioning issues, such as problems with work load or making friends.
Many students experience this and there are plenty of services on campus to help aid them with such issues.
The Office of Counseling Services & Student Success, located in the Student Community Center, Room 118, “strives to maximize student’s individual growth and development through counseling and other support services,” according to the CCM website. They offer plenty of services to aid students in a variety of situations, both personal and academic.
The college has an orientation for new students just before the semester starts so they can familiarize themselves with the campus and its resources.
CCM has also added a new course entitled College Student Success which is “designed to assist first-year students in their adjustment and success with the college experience,” according to the CCM website. The course covers topics such as academic expectations, time management and making career choices.
Once adjusted, college is what you make of it. “Don’t take it for granted,” Elms said. “Enjoy community college and enjoy being home because once you’re out, the real world can be scary.”