Recently, while watching the film “Accepted”, a 2006 comedy about a phony university created by a college reject, a thought crossed my mind.
In one scene, a character named Sherman (Jonah Hill, “Superbad”) vocalizes his sentiment that all he ever wanted was a “run-of-the-mill college experience” after enduring some tumultuous times at South Harmon Institute of Technology (I’ll let you decipher that acronym). His dysfunctional college career prompted me to evaluate the time I have spent here at Saddleback.
Spring of 2009 marks my seventh semester here at Saddleback College. No, I am not completely hopeless. The only class I have repeated at Saddleback as of yet is Recreational Baseball, three times to be exact, all by choice. For the sake of my educational reputation, let me clear the air.
I have seen many of my friends and classmates take the fast-track to four-year schools, and I also see some of the familiar faces making their way around campus that have been here longer than me. Many of my friends from high school have already obtained bachelor’s degrees. Everybody takes a different path, some towards a similar goal, and all are acceptable.
I attended my first course here (EMT), back in the spring of 2005, when many of you were probably high school freshmenÃ–wow. I took a semester off, then I restarted part-time in 2006, all while working 50-plus hours per week.
I know many students here do the same thing; community colleges are always a melting pot of students with different income levels and varying ages, many of whom support themselves and must work while trying to get an education, such as myself. I bit the bullet last year and increased my school schedule to full-time while cutting back on some hours at work; I’m trying to adhere to the seven-year-plan. I have always squeezed school into the cracks around work, resulting in a lot of night classes, and have never really been able to pursue much of what Saddleback has to offer to us students. This semester is the first chance I have to do that.
Due to the recessionary landscape of today’s economy, I was laid off from my job in the construction industry this winter. It has been a challenge figuring out what step to take next, but I decided to really focus on getting school taken care of, and worry about income later. My occupation is now “student,” and with the amount of Top Ramen and PB&J’s I eat nowadays, I have become quite the prototype. All kidding aside, this is the first semester I have been able to attend certain classes that have been in my shopping cart for the last couple of years, due to the limited times they meet.
Being let go from a job is never a pleasant experience, but it has been a blessing in disguise for me. I will be finishing my Saddleback career very soon and I am grateful for the opportunity to take advantage of some of the more fulfilling and rewarding programs offered here, such as the newspaper.
Attending a community college certainly has its advantages and disadvantages, and after brief stops at two others before I came here, I must say that Saddleback is a fine example of the best experience one can get from such a school. The quality of our staff, campus, programs, and student-body at Saddleback is on par with many universities and institutes. I am looking forward to a great final semester here, and I will always appreciate this last opportunity I have been given. To all you incoming students, or anyone who has held back from fulfilling any educational or extracurricular aspirations, take full advantage of the choices available here on campus, and I’ll see you around.