Letter to the Editor: College is for any age

Junior colleges became community colleges in the 1970’s, offering education to the community. Lifelong learning is a goal.

Most people do not know why any particular student is in community college several years. Many of us are re-entry students with previous degrees or at least some college attendance. Some of us pursue related degrees to be more interdisciplinary, providing a broader perspective, rather than the tunnel vision of a single focus. For some of us, the degree or career requirements have changed, necessitating longer attendance. Some of us are attempting to change fields or update skills, which does not always go smoothly. Some of us finish degrees only to find that the jobs do not materialize because the economy has tanked, trends have trended elsewhere, experience is preferred for entry-level jobs, etc.

Some of us do not qualify for financial aid and/or are low income and therefore cannot transfer to a more expensive, 4-year college.

Most of us have last priority registration and therefore can only register for the apparently least-desired classes that still have space after everyone else has registered, so it would be almost impossible for us to take class space from another student.  I have not seen any information that this has been the case, so if you have evidence to the contrary, I would love to examine it.

Some of us enroll in low-enrollment classes, sometimes purposefully to keep the class from being dropped for other students who need the class.

I have not personally heard of a student being turned away from a community college due to impacted enrollment or of BOG waivers running out. In fact, my understanding is that we are currently in an enrollment downturn.  Again, if you have evidence to the contrary, I would love to examine it.

Life usually consists of one or a combination of the following activities, if desired and you can afford it:

  1. Working – if you can get a job
  2. Classes – if you have a college with the desired classes nearby
  3. Hobbies  – if you have them
  4. Family life – if you have one
  5. Travel
  6. Volunteering
  7. Activism
  8. Hedonism – if that rings your bell
  9. Isolation/agoraphobia
  10. Depression

In order to avoid the last two and keep the brain nimble, some of us choose education.  Hey, maybe it keeps us from becoming senior delinquents, or joining an elder gang.

I believe that all students benefit from having a diverse student pool with whom to take classes.  Some students thrive under the personal mentoring of another student rather than on formal programs, e.g., tutoring.

Some students experience illness, injury, or trauma either before or while enrolled in community college, e.g., some veterans and/or survivors of domestic, employment and/or sexual violence, necessitating longer attendance due to taking a class at a time, possibly intermittently.

One of our CAEB t-shirts for the March 19 “Outer Space” Club Day says, “ARC Beavers have more degrees than the sun.”  I do note that Beavers is plural.  Some of us have more than one degree ourselves, although my personal goal is not to have more than the sun  – 10,000 degrees F surface; 27 million degrees F core.  See, I have learned something.  Did you know that? Although I just googled it and did not have to be in school to learn that… but maybe I was taking up internet space.

Laurie Jones, director of finance for ASB Student Government

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