Occasionally, a friend or classmate of mine comes up to me and says, “Hey, I saw your picture on the ACC website recently.” This line is always a no-fail conversation starter for a generally reserved person like me.
“Yes, I’m an ACC poster child,” I proudly reply before enthusiastically regaling my unsuspecting listener with story after story about all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had during my four and a half years at Arapahoe Community College.
When I started out as a part-time student pursuing an associates degree, the end goal of graduation seemed like a speck on the distant horizon. I was so intensely focused on each step of my educational journey and the pleasurable pursuit of immersing myself in so many interesting classes and activities that it didn’t really hit me until last week that my graduation is just around the corner.
Instead of feeling euphoric though and ready to move on to the next stage of my life, I’m surprisingly feeling a bit down, reluctant and confused. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give up the comforting intellectual environment of what has become my academic “home” or the attendant connections I’ve made with the amazing faculty members and friends I’ve met along the way.
George Santayana said, “We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.” My mind knows it’s time to let go and embrace what the future has to offer, but my heart wants to delay my leaving and enjoy every last moment I have left.
Going back to school at Arapahoe Community College has been the best thing I’ve ever done. The warmth and personal attention of excellent instructors, the small class sizes and the intimacy of such a small campus has provided the nurturing environment I needed to rebuild my scholastic confidence, develop leadership abilities and hone my writing skills.
I’m proud to own ACC as my school and will always be excited to tell people about my experiences there. I will always be proud to be an ACC poster child and graduate. Just don’t be surprised, if like the irrepressible Bob Wiley, I never completely leave. I may be back there this summer or fall, lingering in the hallways and taking a class or two–just for fun.