Virginia Editorial
Photo by Bruce McDaniel

By Virginia Johnston

On my first ever visit to Cape Cod Community College (4Cs), I felt lost, confused and unsure about my decisions. Since then, I have discovered energy drinks, dyed my hair pink and mastered trigonometry. Now as I enter my last semester, I still feel a bit lost, confused and unsure, but I have found myself. I know now that I made the right choice to come here and I have taken full advantage of this experience. 

At 16 years old, I was looking to join the dual enrollment program that my high school offered. If I attended 4Cs for my junior and senior years, then I could graduate high school and get my Associate’s Degree at the same time. Seems like a no brainer, right? Well, to me, it meant moving on from high school and stepping into the life of an adult with more responsibilities and a crazier schedule. It was a big decision that I felt would ultimately benefit me in the long run. And so far, I think I was right. 

During the fall semester of 2018, I was required to take a College Experience course taught by Professor Alison Frisbie along with other first year students. The objective was to make the college transition a bit easier and to prepare us for the future. A journal of our hopes and dreams was a requirement.  

There was one exercise we did that involved writing down our optimal future, a foresight into a proud life. As students shared their answers, we got the typical mix. A pro athlete, a doctor, a lawyer, that kind of stuff. When it was my turn, my cheeks flushed red as I answered, “I’d like to be a beekeeper.”

My dreams didn’t seem as ambitious as the rest. Then again, it was my first semester and I didn’t know much. I started that class by sitting with my only friend, and I left it knowing everybody’s story. I still wave to those classmates in the hall. Since then, Kylie Power has been in two of my other courses and we have gotten to know each other. She is also a dual enrollment student that started in College Experience. 

“My first semester was full of uncertainty. All I knew about my future as a 16 year old was that I would attend college until I was satisfied,” Power said. “Now, after branching out into different fields with an assortment of classes, I’ve finally been able to determine my field of study.”

Power is excited to transfer to UMass Boston next semester as an Economics and Political Science dual major. 

My prime goal here has always been to explore. I never had a dream major or career that drove my decisions. I took Plant and Soil Science in my second semester because I wanted to improve my garden. I took Yoga to create some routine. I now stretch before gardening. I appreciate the trees when I drive down the highway. I think this is the best way to enjoy life. 

I took Journalism 1 during my second semester which forced me to connect with the school. It was at this point that I really joined the 4Cs community. I had to know the ins and outs of the school and be confident striking up conversations with strangers. I found that writing isn’t limited to five paragraph essays. 

I also took Intro to Philosophy. If I thought I knew anything before, I was wrong. I walked out of that class every Monday and Wednesday questioning my place in the world. By the end of the course, both nothing and everything made sense. I am now enrolled in Existentialism and I don’t know why I exist, but maybe we’ll get to that by the end of the semester. 

For a lot of students, community college is just a steppingstone to a four-year school. Most of my peers have started this process with college visits and applications. My friend Sohrob Nyman has been on this journey with me since middle school. He made the decision to join the same dual enrollment program at 16, and now he’s getting ready to move on.  

“When I transfer to a four-year college to pursue physical therapy, I will have some credits under my belt and have a head start,” said Nyman.

To him, attending 4Cs meant that he finished some prerequisites. I thought that was my path for a while, but application season has come and gone, and I never applied anywhere. For Sohrob and Kylie, their passions await them at four-year schools. For me, I will be fine after 4Cs. 

So we look to the future. I am going on the Belize study abroad trip this spring. Then I have no plans, and I am so excited. Maybe I’ll get some bees.