WCC grad: Returning student plans to pay teaching forward

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 25, 2014 

I began attending WCC in the fall of 2012, and I am very happy I did. Beyond what I learned academically, my experience at Whatcom helped me decide where I want to take my career and gain direction for that path. This is primarily due to the welcoming and helpful learning environment at WCC, and the kindness of the invaluable WCC faculty and staff.

I came to Whatcom as a returning student. I received a degree when I was younger but hadn't really been satisfied with my career options after school. I had worked a number of jobs that I had enjoyed, but nothing you'd really call a career. Looking for something new, I decided to begin the accounting program at WCC. Getting started was very easy. The folks at registration did a great job getting me set up for classes and with a plan to complete my program quickly. Whatcom's staff always did a great job answering any questions I had, for which I am very thankful.

I received a great education at Whatcom. I exit WCC with the skills and knowledge to pursue the accounting field either through current employment or future education. The faculty are both extremely knowledgeable in their fields and wonderfully open and personable in their approach to teaching. Beyond the education I received, I was presented with numerous opportunities that took what I had learned in the classroom and provided real-world training and experience. One such opportunity was the VITA program. VITA is a volunteer program that provides free tax preparation for low-income and elderly taxpayers. It was great experience and a real help to people using the service.

I was also presented with an opportunity that helped me discover what I want to do for a career. The Learning Center at WCC provides individual tutoring for students. I thought it might be a fun way to reinforce what I'd learned, so I took the job. I immediately fell in love with it. Tutoring has greatly enhanced my understanding of the subject of accounting. My tutoring students challenge me with unexpected questions, so I really have to have the topics down pat. I've enjoyed my work so much as a tutor that I now plan to pursue a teaching degree. My desire is to go into adult education. Having come back to school myself, I appreciate the challenges that adult students often face - juggling career, family and education. Hopefully one day I can help other students the way the faculty at WCC has helped me.

I would definitely encourage anyone considering going to or going back to college to take a look at Whatcom. Whatcom is great for students who have jobs and/or families. They have many courses available at night or online to fit a work schedule. There are students there of all ages, from high school to old school. The faculty and staff at WCC helped me regain my academic footing and have helped prepare me for the next step in my career.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article is one in a series of essays written by Whatcom Community College students who graduated June 20. Steve Bridges will graduate from Whatcom Community College with a certificate in accounting. Whatcom's outstanding business programs include classes, certificates and degrees in accounting, business and office administration, and information systems.

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