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Column: Breaking down the stigma surrounding community colleges

By Madison Heiser

Copy Editor

Growing up as one of the “gifted and talented” kids in school, I held high standards for myself once I reached my time to decide which college to attend. I felt as though I had to prove my value as an academic, both to myself and to the people around me. However, after some financial turmoil, TJC became my only option. Why wasn’t I excited?

One of my initial concerns about coming to TJC was facing judgment for my decision to attend a community college. Talking to my peers, I realized such a concern is fairly common. Many of us have read or overheard members of the community speak critically about community colleges. Some hold the belief that this is where we flock if we’re not good enough to attend a four-year university. Junior college academics, athletics, and student life are stereotypically inferior. However, my experiences at TJC have taught me quite the opposite.

TJC truly challenges many of the stereotypes that surround the quality of a community college education. It provides a fairly affordable means of obtaining a college degree, often with the guidance of incredible professors. Some may have had a different experience, but myself and many of my peers have followed a bright path. 

Those of us who attend TJC should reach out to high school students or other members of our community, seeking an education, and describe the benefits of attending a junior college. Community colleges provide a means of beginning or continuing one’s secondary education at any age. They are a significantly more affordable option for those who cannot pay tuition at four-year colleges – without largely compromising the quality of education. 

Throngs of social scientists have studied the effects of education on individuals’ life opportunities. Education is perhaps the most significant sociological factor contributing to one’s success in adulthood. Education itself is one of the only great assets that cannot be taken from an individual once it is acquired. If someone has the opportunity to receive an education, by any means and at any institution, it should be chased with a fervor. There is no shame in advancing one’s education, thus furthering his or her economic and career opportunities in the future, through a community college. 

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