Benefits of Beginning at a Community College

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Brittany FlackThis week’s blogger is Brittany Flack, who started her college career at Western Iowa Tech Community College. Brittany earned an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree. She is continuing her education at the University of Iowa with the goal of becoming an optometrist.

While researching colleges as a senior in high school, I was torn between where to go. I knew that I could save money by attending a community college prior to enrolling at a 4-year institution. Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) turned out to be the best opportunity for me. With a few scholarships that covered book fees, residence hall expenses, meal plans and tuition, it was practically free. I knew upon graduating high school that I wanted to pursue my dream of being an optometrist and that it would take eight years to attain that goal. I had taken a few college credit classes during high school and therefore I could graduate from WITCC in one year with an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree. All of my classes would easily transfer to the University of Iowa.

From the first day at WITCC, I felt comfortable in the environment. I knew I wanted to get involved right away. I joined the Student Leadership Academy, Phi Theta Kappa, became a Student Ambassador and tried out for the dance team. As a student ambassador, I was able to inspire people through my experiences and inform them about how to prepare for college. Through Phi Theta Kappa, I became the president, raised money for the backpack program and started the C4 challenge program to complete a degree at a community college. I talked to the students and faculty about the importance of earning a degree and the benefits that will come of it. I was also selected for on the All-Iowa Academic Team and considered for the All American Academic Team that ultimately earned me a scholarship at the University of Iowa. On the Student Leadership Academy, we discussed ways to make the college a better place for students and implemented a program to provide free bus passes for students without vehicles. On the dance team, we performed at the State Dance Competition and received second place in our division. We performed during the Sioux City Bandits’ football games and were featured in school commercials.  I also met a lot of people by getting involved in intramural sports on campus.

By far, the relations I developed at WITCC will my classmates, teachers, advisors and the staff are the biggest benefits to starting at a community college. There was never a moment I had to show my student ID to be recognized, everyone knew me by name…and still knows me by name. My teachers and advisors went above and beyond to create a path for my future. My memories from community college are indescribable because they are so unique. I have grown so much from the potential that the WITCC community saw in me. They really made me realize that my dreams could be reached.

After graduating from WITCC, I remain involved with the college. Over breaks I have gone back and talked to high school classrooms about my experience. I have also taken extra summer classes and winter term classes during my breaks at the University of Iowa. My pictures are still used in brochures, commercials and banners.  After two years I am still in contact with some of my teachers and classmates. I have even applied to teach a summer Biology course at WITCC since I will have by bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. There are unlimited possibilities when you begin at a community college and the opportunities are growing. I would not be in the position that I am in today without taking this path. I am three years out of high school with an Associate’s of Arts Degree, an Associate’s of Science Degree and soon a Bachelor’s in Health and Human Physiology—all in pursuit of my dream of being an Optometrist.

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