It has been a while. I hope that all of you are doing well. Wishing you the best for 2021.
I want to talk about community college. This is long but worth the read. I took last semester off from Tufts and attended Montgomery County Community College full time. And, it was an absolutely amazing experience. I have never had a more diverse group of professors or peers in my classes. For the first time, I had two female professors and three male professors. I also had a mix of professors from different backgrounds, and from all different races. It was a privilege to learn from them, to listen to their points of view and hear about their cultures or lives. In addition to that, I had multilingual peers who had just moved here from other countries, peers that worked multiple jobs, peers that were still in high school or older adults, etc. That diversity fostered brilliant and thought provoking discussions. My professors took the time to get to know me, and to make themselves available to answer questions. They learned about my life and my interests and tailored class content to each and every student. Without a doubt, they know me better than my Tufts professors do. The advisor there was so willing to help me, and went out of her way to make my transition there easier.
I also took a set of classes that address real world issues including Sociology, Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Spanish, and Educational Psych. They were all interrelated to some degree which strengthened my understanding of critical topics. I began to understand crime, justice, and law through a more educated lens than what I’ve gleaned from the media and my own social feed.
Because of the rampant elitism within the college process, there is a stigma around attending community college. It is a spectacular option for college — whether you stay all four years or transfer after two years to one of the numerous schools that community colleges have relationships with. It saves so much money and provides opportunities for students who cannot afford to go to other schools. It also gives students an opportunity to fall in love with learning by taking classes that interest them. Tufts has a reputation for being an academically rigorous institution — but there were no remarkable differences in the difficulties of my classes at MontCo, in my personal opinion. Furthermore, I didn’t experience burnout halfway through the semester because there wasn’t as much added pressure. The students that go to community college are sometimes regarded as less intelligent than those students who go to more prestigious institutions and that is just grossly untrue. I’m extremely ashamed to admit that I had that notion going in, I thought my classes were going to be easy there, and I thought that I would be ahead of my peers. But I am so happy to have been proved wrong, and that I took the time to look at my internalized elitism and privilege.
Is this to say anything negative about Tufts? Absolutely not, I love my school and I am happy that I get to go there. But this was a valuable experience for me and I’m glad to be able to share it. To anyone going through the college process right now, community college is such an important option that your high school might not widely publicize or educate you on. I’m not an expert on it by any means, but please reach out to me if you want to know more about my experience!Thank you Montgomery County Community College