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Truth and fiction of community college stigma

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Guest column by Dantia Denise Dandjinou

As I adjusted the straps of my red book bag while walking down the halls of the wide corridors, the smells of our Subway almost causing me to salivate, I can’t help but think about the stigmas sometimes associated with community colleges. Some would say students at community colleges will never achieve their goals, but I beg to differ. The only real valid opinion about stigmas associated with community colleges should be that of the attendees.

This is my second semester here at GRCC, and I absolutely love it. But just because I think highly of my school doesn’t mean that everyone else will. I’ll admit being a community college student isn’t always easy. One of the first stigmas that you feel you have to prove wrong is that students of big name colleges are smarter than community college students. I did attend and graduate from a university before I came to Grand Rapids Community College. I’ll admit I received a great education, but I also received a great bill to go along with that great university. You know the kind of financial bill that other students fail to warn you about, as they smile confidently, while telling you they graduated from such and such “State University.” With the economic times we now live in, everyone will agree that achieving a more affordable education is a very intelligent thing to do.

While I can’t really compare the two colleges, being that they are two separate entities, I prefer GRCC. I like that all of the teachers I’ve had so far really show that they care. Their teaching style is very personalized. They strive to do their best to make sure you understand your work and even offer tutoring opportunities across campus.

Despite how many “Kudos Points” I may get or not get for attending GRCC, I’ve found that I am still the same student intellectually, no matter what school I am attending. GRCC is a great place to take advantage of opportunities if the student chooses to do so, but like every school in America, each student in that school is different. Sometimes it feels as if the good students often take the blame for students who are not always focused. I don’t believe it’s fair to categorize all students in the same batch as one bad apple. I’ll admit some students can be a little disruptive and lack proper classroom etiquette, but that shouldn’t out shine the 90 percent of students who actually come to school to learn.

If I had to convince any future students to attend GRCC, I would probably talk about how financially affordable it is, how the staff really cares, and how with a great attitude and willingness to learn, they could achieve anything. I’d tell them that at GRCC, I never feel like just another face in the crowd. We all know that it is up to the student to choose their own place of higher learning; I chose GRCC, because unlike with big name colleges and universities, I never feel like just another link in their commerce chain.