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Courage to Learn

Courage to Learn

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Published by Mark David Milliron
An open letter to students in community colleges about their journey.
An open letter to students in community colleges about their journey.

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Published by: Mark David Milliron on Aug 26, 2009
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07/08/2013

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Published monthly with support from
 
April 2004 Volume 7, Number 4
The Courage to Learn
 
Mark David Milliron
 Your courage astounds us. We probably don't tell you this enough. You see, we tooare pushed and pulled by classes, calendars, and the constant press of our work ineducation. But when we slow down, look around, and soak in all of your stories, weare humbled.Many of you will be the first in your family to set foot on a college campus. At timesit can feel as though there is no one who really understands how strange andawkward your first steps feel. You fill out our forms, meet our advisors, take ourplacement tests, piece together a schedule, step into our classrooms – whetherthey're online or on campus – and enter a new world. Sometimes it's hard for us toremember how overwhelming our rules and procedures seem to you. And we shouldremember. What you may not realize is that many of us started our highereducation journey at a community or technical college. We've just been in this worldso long that we sometimes lose touch with how we felt
our 
first day. Be patient withus.Some family and friends don't know much about the journey you're on. Their ideasabout college are shaped by movies and TV. Nonetheless, they truly want you tosucceed. Some of them have fought, struggled, begged, and borrowed to give youthis opportunity. While you are so happy to have their support, you sometimes feelpressured by the weight of their expectations.You may have different pressures. We've seen some of you suffer throughunsupportive, angry, or abusive parents, spouses, or friends. This inner circle playsout their fears or insecurities by discouraging you at every turn, trying to convinceyou that you too will fail. Some are afraid that your success will take you away fromthem, so they subtly sabotage your journey. Many of you struggle withuncooperative supervisors or job schedules that make attending class difficult orimpossible. Weekend or night courses are a must, even though you're mentally tiredand physically worn out. Some of you have major family responsibilities. You searchto find good child care and wrestle with the guilt of being away from your kids eventhough you're going to college to better
their 
lives as well; and others must strive tocare for parents, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, and other family. Weknow that at times it feels as though a higher power is working to keep you fromtaking this new path. But have faith, because nothing could be further from thetruth. “Will there be people who look like me?” You worry you won't see familiar faceswhen you look at the students, teachers, and leaders on campus. Or you are
Page 1of 2Learning Abstracts April 2004, Volume 7, Number 4

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