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Reflection of My SMCC Experience

My experience at Southern Maine Community College is an overall positive experience that has enriched my life. Through the time spent seeking an Associate's Degree in Information Technology I have been able to channel my interest in computers to build a solid foundation of technical knowledge and gain a greater appreciation for the pursuit of knowledge. Because of work accomplished in the IT program, I greatly expanded my skills in range of subjects that I was unaware of previously. As a part of the student body at SMCC, I feel that I had ample exposure to experiences and have encouraged personal growth. As a result of these experiences and interactions, I feel that I am capable of professional growth in future endeavor and a greater appreciation for those around me.

As a non-traditional student I believe that my background and prior experience; as someone in my late middle to late 30’s, attending classes part-time while working full-time, pursuing a second associate degree, in a fourth college experience hoping to pursue a career in which I have no prior experience has contributed to a unique student experience. As unique as I may be, it was of great comfort to see that I was not alone. Throughout my career at SMCC, I have had the great pleasure of meeting and developing relationships with many other students and teachers who were much like myself. Having a base of camaraderie has many times encouraged and emboldened me to remain vigilant and to persevere through difficult circumstances.

I know firsthand the numerous, varied difficulties and conflicts that is involved with aspiration of obtaining a college degree later in life. It requires a certain type of courage to branch out to purposely upheave comforts and cast off complacency. It requires a focused vigilance to maintain focus to get through the difficult days and to overcome discouragement. It can take a great amount of emotional strength to find ways to maintain relationships with friends and loved ones while dedicating enormous amounts of time and energy towards the program. The long days of working full time and then taking classes at night, having to work odd hours and odd days to accommodate class times, and having to dedicate any free time towards completing tasks and homework has had a tremendous impact on my relationships.  I am more grateful than ever for the friends, family members and colleagues who stuck with me throughout the program, those who have provided me support and encouragement and displayed enormous amounts of understanding, flexibility and patience. Having pursued this degree so much later in life has proven to myself, and others that I am a capable individual who can accomplish many great things when I put my mind and efforts to it.

While pursuing a career in the IT field was not my first, second, or third career choice, I have had a lifetime fascination and enthusiasm for technology. As a child of the late 70’s, growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I was surrounded by computers my entire life. From an early start I have always had an interest in computers what they were able to accomplish. Throughout my life I maintained an enthusiastic approach to using computers and technology as a whole. Through SMCC, I was able to channel this enthusiast, hobbyist passion into a more robust body of knowledge.

As I reflect upon who I was prior to entering the program, the exposure to new subjects, and depth of knowledge I received through the IT program, I realize how limited my scope of understanding actually was in comparison to where I am now at the end of the program. Prior to entering the program, I see that I had only a fundamental general knowledge. The courses taken have broadened my horizons and exposed me to new subjects I had no prior conception of, and provided structure to gaining deeper knowledge. On a personal level, I view the majority courses taken as intermediary points that explore and provoke me to continue to seek deeper knowledge and understanding. Formal education is only the starting point for what I believe is a lifelong pursuit and passion of knowledge.

Having completed the coursework, I feel more confident that I will be able to utilize these new found skills to pursue a career in the field of technology. Prior to starting the program, my lack of knowledge absolutely would prevent me from obtaining even an entry level position in the field. Now with the solid foundation in place, I feel prepared more than ever to pursue any number of IT Related career paths. I am confident that I will be more successful and see greater opportunities to grow because of the time spent at SMCC.

Outside of the classroom and outside of the program itself, I had a great experience as part of such a diverse student body. I cannot help but to appreciate the diverse background of the of my fellow classmates and student. As we get older, we tend to fall into patterns of comfort and complacency, and it becomes more and more difficult to seek out challenges and opportunities to expand upon one’s thinking. Having attended SMCC, I was able to be exposed to such diversity, in the form of forming relationships with those completely unlike myself. I have gained appreciation for the wealth of multicultural diversity that the SMCC community offers and promotes. I see the community as one that treats this diversity as a point of strength and opportunity. It is most unfortunate that this same concept is not carried into the wider culture outside of SMCC. In a time of such great opinionated political and social discourse that is perpetuated in popular culture and media, it is a relief that the reality of the SMCC community is an oasis of diversity, multiculturalism and equality.

In conclusion, I am extremely proud to have completed my Associates Degree at SMCC. I have had grown personally, professionally, and intellectually. I put a great value on the central role that formal and informal education has and will play in my life. Having completed my associates degree and being a student at SMCC will be highpoints that I can always look back on with a great pride.