At many 4-year schools around the country, it may be rare for students to work full- or part-time jobs in addition to going to school. But a look around CCP, and you often find the opposite is true. Most students here are forced to take on jobs which at times can take away from time used to study, catch up on work, much needed down time, and getting involved with what’s happening on campus.
Such is true for 20 year-old CCP student Khaleel Stewart, and many others on campus.
“I was very cynical about taking classes here at first,” said Stewart, who noted a few years ago, he did not imagine taking classes at the Center City campus.
He actually first had hopes of attending Morehouse College in Georgia, but had to put that dream on hold due to financial issues. Once he enrolled in 2014, he had to maintain a job to pay his way through. He said he didn’t want to allow that to distract him from what his purpose for being here was though which is ultimately to obtain a degree in Psychology, maintain a high grade point average, and transfer to a four year institute.
“Once I stepped onto the campus my outlook changed,” said Stewart. He has also gotten very involved at the college, having participated in the Drop the Mic Poetry Slam and joining the CME program (Center for Male Engagement). He claims the program reinforces and supports his motivation. Stewart represents a number of students here at CCP. Although he is able to stay focus and true to his purpose with all the things he has going on, other students have a bit more trouble doing so.
Sometimes with their busy lives students can often feel like their arms are being pulled in so many different directions. From the long library hours of studying, to working jobs to put themselves in school all the while trying to stay afloat with campus life they lose track of their initial goal.
Gianna Holden, a 23 year old mother, full-time worker and CCP student, definitely has her hands full. Holden works each day out the week, while still managing to care for her son and getting her work done on time. Many students are busy like Holden, and may have lost sight of their purpose for being in school.
Holden switched her major a few times in the past before deciding to pursue a degree in Mass Media and a minor in communications. She had to find the time in her busy schedule to reflect on what her purpose is here, and what it is she wants to take from her college experience.
“I want to obtain the greatest amount of education here to use out in the world and in my career,” said Holden. Personal aspects in her life also caused her to self-reflect like the loss of a parent, a car, and a job all at some point in her life. She believes she’s now on the right track; she is happy and confident about where she is headed now considering she will be graduating in May of this year. Like Holden, many students have faced or are currently facing some of the same challenges of having a busy schedule, loss or that feeling of uncertainty.
And as much as these students’ stories are individual ones, the statistics show the same for most of us here at the college. Seventy-three percent of recent and working graduates credit CCP for excellent/good preparation for employment. Seventy-six percent of transfer program graduates continue their education at a four-year college or university, and at Temple (the most popular transfer school for CCP students), persistence rates is at 83 percent. Twenty-two year-old Najah Davis is hoping to become one of the positive statistics after several years of making up her mind.
Davis was an on- and off-again CCP student for several years. She said she simply couldn’t make up her mind about school at first.
“I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do. The longer I stayed the more overwhelmed I felt. I was just dragging myself along,” said Davis. She decided to leave the college for quite some time, then to return and leave once again attending another school until she realized this was where she wanted to be. This is the case for many students. They can’t decide on a degree path even if they know what interest them. Liberal studies are an option but students want to feel grounded and confident in what they are pursuing.
For Najah, taking that time off from CCP gave her insight on what she believes her purpose is here and that she claims is nursing. She now feels she is on the right path.