Throughout my time spent here at CCV, I have learned to see myself as part of a larger world. I began taking classes at CCV when I was a junior in high school. I was considered a dual enrollment student, and I was fortunate enough to have Ginger Gellman as my coordinator/advisor. At the time, I was only 16 years old, taking on a new learning environment with people of all different ages and backgrounds. I began my journey here with little experience with diversity, little confidence, and little clue of what I wanted to do.

After taking my first class at CCV, I really enjoyed the connections I had made, so I decided to take advantage of more dual enrollment credits during my senior year. Although I only graduated high school with a total of five college classes under my belt, I felt I needed to move on to bigger and better places. Upon my high school graduation, I attended VTC in Williston for a semester with a major in dental hygiene, but I soon realized I couldn’t thrive there. Somehow, my gut managed to remind me that I felt at home while at CCV. From there, I transferred back to CCV. Ginger and the other staff welcomed me back with encouragement and smiles.

Ginger, being as creative as she is, decided it might be beneficial to potential college students if they heard that taking diverse paths was a completely normal way of finding what’s best for you. I agreed to be on a student panel, through which I participated in numerous public speaking events, and helped instructors recruit future high school grads. I was able to form bonds with some of the instructors during recruitment time. It was actually during one of Melissa Holmes’s forensic lessons that I realized criminal justice could be a potential career path for me.

With this new interest in criminal justice, and being intrigued by Mel’s life lessons, I decided it would be in my favor to take some of the classes she taught. I began with Sociology, which I fell in love with. Here I was able to form bonds with many students on different career and educational paths. Following my sociology class, I took Social Justice and Public Policy and Case Management with Mel. I owe a large part of my success to her, because she’s the one who always encouraged me to push myself, to explore outside of the norm, and to have confidence in everything I do. CCV has allowed me to form bonds with the staff and faculty that I didn’t know were possible. That is just one of the many advantages to attending a college like CCV.

Not only has CCV allowed me to thrive in the sense of connection, but it has also allowed me to look at the world from a new perspective. In many of my classes, I felt like I was the youngest, most inexperienced person in the room. The CCV community has allowed me to expand on this idea in the sense that no matter the age and background of your classmates, they will each bring something new and important to the table. Not many 18-year-olds can say they’ve taken classes with people who are their grandparents’ age, but I am privileged to say that I have. Sharing a class with a generation older than myself allowed me to see that not everyone follows a certain educational path, and that it’s okay to experience life. I must give credit to the older folks who have been in my classes, as they’ve allowed me to see life through their eyes, and shared a multitude of their experiences.

I’ve also shared classrooms with students who are my parents’ age, sometimes even my friends’ parents! Through this experience, I’ve acquired a new respect for full-time, working students. I am currently taking five classes and working three days a week, and I often complain that my schedule is full. I can’t imagine being a full-time parent, going to school full time, and working to support your family and school tuition. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can balance this lifestyle. Similar to this, my mom worked full time, raised a family, and went to school at CCV for five years in order to earn her associate degree in medical assisting. Not only did the cooperation and flexibility of CCV benefit my mom, it also inspired me and my sister. My mom exemplified dedication, hard work, and passion, which was only possible through the dedication, hard work, and passion of the CCV community.

As my final semester draws to a close, I can now reflect and say confidently that being a part of the CCV community, I have learned to see myself as part of a larger world. Going forward, I can apply the many life lessons that I’ve learned here at CCV to my personal character, my future education, and my future career. I can almost officially say that I’ve earned my associate degree in liberal studies in a year and a half, and am ready to apply my new attributes to continuing my education at Castleton University. With the inspiration of much of the staff, I have plans to graduate from Castleton University in 2021 with my bachelor’s in criminal psychology. I have hopes that Castleton will allow me to grow as an individual as much as CCV has.

Robyn Bradley is wrapping up her time here at CCV and will graduate with a degree in liberal studies. Following this, she plans to attend Castleton University to study in the psychology department. Robyn enjoys kayaking, reading, and spending time with her family.

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