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Finishing strong: campus community conquers challenging year

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A few of this year’s graduates offer advice to new and returning students about challenges and achievements.

Farrah Kincheloe

Farrah Kincheloe AAOT, Pr Asst
Farrah Kincheloe
AAOT, Pr Asst

What advice would you give to new or returning students?
Never take on more than you know you can handle and ALWAYS ask for help even if you don’t think you need it. Exchange numbers with the person who always sits next to you or at least near you in case you were unable to make it to class or you need help on an assignment. Don’t forget to set aside some time that is just for you, no homework, no studying, no work, just you. Last thing is to simply enjoy the experience.
What challenges have you overcome in order to graduate this year?
Every person has a different struggle, and I am no different. My struggles were my own; however, I never dealt with them on my own: great friends, family and teachers, tutors (hehe) have helped me get through this past year. There were times I wanted to give up and times that I thought I couldn’t keep going. They helped me tread that deep water by coming along side of me and held me up so I wouldn’t sink. I can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel. And is it not the brightest thing I ever saw?

Myressa Starnes

Myressa Starnes AAOT Human Services
Myressa Starnes
AAOT Human Services

What advice would you give to new or returning students?
My biggest advice would be to not to stress on the little things and treat your class work like it is a job. I noticed towards the end of my studies at UCC that stressing out makes it a lot harder to focus on my schoolwork and it actually made it a lot harder for me to get my work done on time and caused me to procrastinate. Procrastinating is never good, especially if you plan to do well in a class. Doing well on exams takes hard work and a lot of time studying, so treat your class work like it is a job. Show up to class every day and on time. Always make sure your homework is turned in on time and, if you can, work on your homework assignments as soon as you get the assignment. Doing this will help you have time later on in the week to study for your exams. Study for all of your exams even if you think you don’t need to. Don’t cram your studying in the night before or the day of an exam, study as soon as the lecturing begins. This will help you actually maintain the information you are learning. Cramming makes it a lot harder to remember the information and more likely you will forget most of the information while you’re taking the test. Most importantly, learn the best note taking and studying techniques that work out the best for you and good luck!

What challenges have you overcome in order to graduate this year?
I am a first generation college student which sometimes makes it hard on me. A lot of the times I feel like I absolutely have to do great in my classes or I would fail my family. Yet other times I felt like it would be okay to quit because no one else in my family is going through what I am going through with school. I also work about 28 hours a week while going to school full time and volunteering at organizations around the Roseburg Area. I began getting so stressed out with it all on top of my bills that I wanted to drop out so many times, even though I had scholarships that paid for all of my tuition. To overcome this feeling of not caring anymore and wanting to drop out, I confided in my family. I called my mom every time I felt this way, and she would talk to me for however long I needed her to. My mom always told me that if I wanted to pursue my passion that I needed to go to school, and that I was so smart that there was no point in losing my dreams over a little stress that would end in a few years. Because of my mom, I am transferring to the University of Oregon for the next two school years, and I will be getting my bachelor’s degree.

Tami Hansen

Tami Hansen AAOT, Family Law
Tami Hansen
AAOT, Family Law

What advice would you give to new or returning students and what challenges have you faced?
I believe that life is an education and our instructors have spent their lives developing their ability to promote our lives and equip us to carry the torch. Gratitude and grit are the two major factors that have helped me to make it through. Be thankful for each day, and prioritize, persist, and pursue your goals positively. Be sure to ask questions, don’t just seek the answers gain the understanding behind the answers. Don’t be too embarrassed to seek help; the advisors and the TOP program have been excellent resources to me and I believe are essential components to every student’s ability to learn and grow through their college journey. Life is full of challenges. I have struggled this year with a myriad of emotions. After October 1, my life perspective has been altered; my son was in a class next door, the reality that life is fragile has been impressed upon me deeply. I have grappled with my desire to earn an education, but desire to be safe and protect my family. As a result, balancing my family life and putting them first while working hard to gain an education has been an enormous challenge. Being thankful and mindful of the fact that “nothing new is under the sun” gives me an assurance that the things that I fear and am unsure of are opportunities for me to grow and blossom through.

Katrina St.Clair

Katrina St.Clair AS Nursing
Katrina St.Clair
AS Nursing

What advice would you give to new or returning students?
The best advice I have for any student is never lose sight of what you want, never give up on a dream no matter how far out of reach it seems, and never let anyone or anything change how you see yourself or the goals you want to achieve. It may be a long and hard road, but the things we have to fight the hardest for in life are often the things that mean the most and make us who we are.

What challenges have you overcome in order to graduate this year?
My first year I was unsure how I would pay for school and still be able to cover the cost of daily living, but I found a couple of part time jobs and made things work, I took some classes online to free more time for work . . . . Second challenge was completing all of the necessary credits; my counselor told me I needed too many credits to complete them in one year, at least successfully. Well, I proved him wrong. I took more credits each term than most people would consider, I was dedicated to what I knew I needed to do, I gave up a lot of social and family time and I studied.

Finally, my biggest challenge was accepting the fact I have a disability and asking for help. October 2015 changed the lives of many people including myself. It was a very emotional time and it exacerbated my PTSD. In a time when people should have come together and been supportive, some people gave me a hard time because of my disability and the side effects it had on my life. I was made to feel like less of a person and I was even told I did not belong in nursing because of my “mental disorder” (PTSD), but I sought out help through a psychologist and opened up to people who also live with PTSD. I talked with Disability Services, and they offered support/help through accommodations.

Graciela Garcia

Graciela Garcia AAOT, Applied Mathematics
Graciela Garcia
AAOT, Applied Mathematics

What advice would you give to new or returning students?
Keep up to date on homework and things, but leave time for fun stuff. Never overwork yourself if you can avoid it. Ask for help when you need it! There are countless nice people on campus who are always willing to lend a hand.

What challenges have you overcome in order to graduate this year?
Sleep deprivation … still haven’t overcome that one yet … but this past fall was definitely an obstacle for the entire campus. I’m thankful that I wasn’t as involved as others so I could help those who were overcome with stress and anxiety. I think, as a whole, the campus was able to unite and help each other recover from the losses we experienced that day, and I’m proud to be a part of that effort.

Kayla Towers

Kayla Towers AAS, Visual Communications
Kayla Towers
AAS, Visual Communications

What advice would you give to new or returning students?
If you’re going to be an art major, you need to have a portfolio to carry your work in. you don’t want to get caught in the rain with a charcoal drawing. It probably won’t be pretty. But who knows, maybe the rain can make it beautiful.
What challenges have you overcome in order to graduate this year?
My biggest challenge was getting a degree after my program was cut. When the Visual Communications program was cut, many students changed schools or majors, but I stayed to see it through. And while this can be fun at times, it can be challenging to not be inspired by other students’ comments and projects. I owe my teachers  because they worked so hard to help me, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Josh Friedlein

Josh Friedlein ASUCC Vice President
Josh Friedlein
ASUCC
Vice President

Advice from ASUCC Vice President
“For me, commencement represents the finish line. It’s the end of an all-out-sprint that I’ve been in, and while it has appeared in the past there was little to no hope, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Commencement represents success and triumph. I’m honored to graduate from UCC, and I will never forget the memories that I have made here.” •