“My ideas were all wrong,” and other thoughts from a DMACC grad-to-be

Anna DuranBy Anna Duran.

I’ve been attending DMACC for four years, and I get to leave in January. Needless to say, I’ve learned a few things.

I started college in 2009 when I was 22. I had given birth to my second son, and realized I would not be able to take care of my kids without an education. I never imagined what I learned here would change my life. Life does a good job changing itself, and it came in every direction for me.

I took Comp I, Literature, and Psychology my first semester. I recommend getting the writing requirements out of the way quickly. It took three attempts for me to complete Comp II, which I did in an accelerated night course. This worked for me because something was due every day.

I’m a terrible procrastinator. I tell myself I work well under pressure. It’s true, I do work well under pressure of a deadline, but I wish I hadn’t put off so much. Writing that 10-page research paper for American History in one go at 3 a.m. was not fun. I got an ‘A,’ which I can honestly say was a complete surprise.

How much fun I had researching that paper was also a surprise. I wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the non-violent approach to activism, known as civil disobedience. Exposing myself to the injustices of the past helped me see them in today’s world. There are willfully blind people. Don’t be one of those people.

Try to learn as much as you can from the classes you don’t really want to take. I did not want to take any history classes at all, so I purposefully signed up for four of them. In doing so, I learned more than I thought I could in a subject that was nowhere near as boring as I presumed. I chose topics that were challenging to me, and in that challenge, I came out better.

I’m a liberal-minded person with a passion for learning about people. I can’t interview the entire population at DMACC, so I took classes about people instead. I took six courses in psychology and sociology. I learned how to understand people and where they come from. Never assume you know anything about someone they haven’t told you themselves.

Put your damned phone down and talk to someone. If you don’t make friends with someone in class, you’ll never get to borrow anyone’s notes. Notes are important, but developing interpersonal skills is REALLY important. A lot of you are younger than I am and was; I understand there are some generational differences. I don’t care. Put your phone down and talk to the person next to you.

You do a lot of writing in college. The way to be a better writer is to read more books. Expose yourself to language arts and really soak it in. Pay attention to how those books are written, usually with proper grammar and spelling. Emulate it. Oh, and buy a dictionary. Read that, too.

When I started here, I was 22 and had no freaking clue who I was. I had an idea. My ideas were ALL WRONG. Not kidding, I am a completely different human being in these four years than I was then. Life happens around college. Life can be really hard sometimes.

School was always constant. I never stopped coming to class. I never stopped learning the facts about the world that would fuel my feelings toward it and its inhabitants. There were several one-or-two-class semesters. It didn’t take me four years because I’m lazy.

To those of you that have done it in two years (or will): awesome. Good job. To those of you like me, who had/have to take your time because life happens and sometimes sucks: awesome. Good job.

I am incredibly grateful for my turn here at DMACC. I figured out who I am, how I want to be, and what I want to do. I’m transferring out now, and headed to university (lovingly referred to as big-girl college). You will, too, I’m sure. I hope you get to take as much with you as I am when you go.

Thank you for reading all my stuff.

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