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SYDNEY WAGNER

Sydney graduated in 2017 from the Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelors of Science in Operations Research and Computer Analysis.

 

SYDNEY'S STORY

Livermore, CA | Las Positas College & Chabot College

I knew that I wanted to go to college while I was still in high school. However, I did not yet feel ready to move away from home. Additionally, I knew that four year universities are expensive, and that I could finish my general education requirements at a community college without spending as much money. Finally, I had not yet decided what to major in. For me, this decision was about my future career much more than a major at school. I knew I could get a degree, but what job was I going to have once I had finished? Because of this uncertainty, I chose to begin my college career at Las Positas Community College.

When I started out at the Community College, I thought I was going to major in political science. I realized that I had the ability to explore classes and careers outside of this bubble. This is one of the benefits of being at a two-year school; the pressure to complete certain sets of courses in a short time-frame is much less. I took an introduction to computer programming class. Because of how much I liked this class, and the encouragement I received from my instructor, I chose to pursue a math/computer science related field.

 

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

Winston Churchill

 
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BENEFIT

There are honestly so many answers I could give to this question. I am going to focus on just one: community college gave me the opportunity to grow in maturity and readiness to operate on my own when I transferred. It served as a stepping stone between high school and adult life. I went from being uncertain about my future career goals to set on what I wanted to do. I feel that the two years I spent at the community college helped prepare me for my future success. I am proud to have graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy with high honors with BS in Operations Research and Computer Analysis. I am also proud to serve the country as an officer in the US Coast Guard. I truly do not believe I would have been able to successfully graduate this university and be where I am today if I had not had the chance to go to the community college.

WHY I AM SHARING

I am sharing my story because I know that there is a stigma about attending a two year school. Attending a community college does not mean that you are not as smart or successful as your counterparts who may be going straight to a four year school. I want to help break this untrue and unfair stereotype. I want to give every student the confidence to stand up for their choice, and be successful in spite of what others might say.

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ADVICE

I would tell students to consider a variety of factors. What is your plan for school? What job do you intend to pursue after you have graduated? How are you going to pay for school? Do you feel emotionally ready and mature enough to live on your own? What is your true motivation for going to the school you have chosen? Every person is different. Some students are ready to immediately attend a four year school. Some are not. What other people are doing is inconsequential. The decision is based on what is right and fitting for the individual.

ONE MORE THING

Remember that their are many paths to success. Community college is very much part of my story. Based on this, of course I would recommend it. But make sure you choose what is right for you, and success will not be far behind.

It is difficult to prepare for what you do not know. Never be discouraged when you fail. Use it as motivation to do better next time. Show the world what you are made of.

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