BY DR. ANTHONY IACONO
Less than a month into the spring semester and already much is happening. Whether you are a new or returning student, I’d like to thank you for choosing County College of Morris. As a community college graduate, I can say first-hand that you’ve made a great choice. By working closely with your professors and the support staff at CCM, you can expect to receive a lifetime of rewards that come with a high quality education. I often reflect on my first two years of college as the time when I learned the most and, in some ways, worked harder than any other point of my college career. Like many of you, I found my classes academically challenging but making the adjustment to college was even more rigorous. It was a new environment with new rules, a language of its own, and culture that took some time to understand. What I did grasp quickly is that my professors wanted me to work hard and be successful. They genuinely cared and worked alongside me to guide my progress and introduce me to new ideas, helped me to sharpen my critical thinking and communication skills and, in general, ensure I had opportunities to experience strong academic growth. I was also fortunate enough to have an exceptional adviser and to have made some really good friends along the way, one of whom is now my wife.
While it’s difficult to know how important these years can be, the key to getting the most of your time at CCM is getting involved. If you’re not accustomed to “putting yourself out there,” let me suggest some things you might consider. Take the time to visit your professors during office hours. Our faculty are exceptional and you are certain to discover they have rich backgrounds. Many are nationally recognized, continue to engage in research and publication, are active in their fields in many other ways, and belong to a world you are only now discovering. It is with great fondness that I recall spending time with my professors outside of the classroom. Often, they provided additional opportunities for me by recommending or sharing books, allowing me to work with them on research projects and helping me learn how to apply what I was learning. In addition to spending more time with your professors, get to know the staff at CCM. They are also extremely dedicated. Take the time to visit the library, learn more about clubs and activities at Campus Life, find out how the Health Services office can support your well-being, learn more about the universe in the Longo Planetarium and more. Attend a play, concert or dance recital, enjoy an art exhibit by some of the most talented people in the country, or cheer the men and lady Titans at sporting events. There is almost always something happening at CCM on any given day including weekends and nights. At the very least, take the time to introduce yourself to your classmates. You never know who you might meet. My point, as you have probably surmised, is get involved. Join a club, participate in an activity, consider sharing your talents on one of our athletic teams, in theater, dance or music. Just get involved. Make this a year to broaden your horizons, learn more, work harder and have more fun!
To help get the ball rolling, I invite you to meet with me on February 8 at 12:30 p.m. in the Learning Resource Center LRC 121 and/or February 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Community Center Davidson Rooms to learn about the development of CCM’s next strategic plan. I encourage you to share your ideas and help shape the future of our great college where we’re connecting learning and life! And, by the way, follow me on Twitter @ccmproud.