The Power of Community College by Julia Gaitho

In honor of National Community College Month, guest contributor Julia Gaitho shares her reasons for attending a community college. From Nairobi, Kenya and now living in Lowell, Gaitho is a Psychology and Social Science student at Middlesex Community College.

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I came to Middlesex Community College in the Spring of 2019. I had just transferred from Salem State University and I came to MCC wanting to pursue a nursing degree, but that was not my path. When I figured out what I wanted to do, MCC was a great option because one, it was very cost efficient, and two, I had the luxury of completing my degree without any debt. MCC has also been very supportive in terms of resources and so much more.

Here at MCC, I have had loads of opportunities, from receiving a scholarship to getting an opportunity to work on campus as a Career Ambassador and joining programs on campus. I’m a part of two programs on campus, the TRIO program and Student Success Scholars. The TRIO program is a program for any first-generation student on campus. I joined in Fall of 2021, and I’ve closely worked with my advisor Catherine Dillon. We have navigated through college together and she has also been assisting me with my next steps as far as transferring to a four-year school in the fall.

two people pose together holding a certificate

I’m also a part of the Student Success Scholars program which has really made me a successful student. I’ve been paired up with a mentor who cares, who is supportive, and always present. Through this program, I have been able to receive The Equity Promise scholarship from the President of MCC, Phil Sisson. Through my mentor, I have been able to network and connect with different faculty and staff from MCC who have been a great help. I was also able to get an on-campus job at the Career Services as a Career Ambassador.

Coming to a community college has benefited me in so many ways. It’s been cost efficient, I have been able to get me associate degree debt free, no hassle. It’s also been very manageable. I have also benefited coming to a community college by learning from an environment that is curated with love, support, joy, zeal to learn, and that together is a recipe for a successful student.

headshot photo of person

Having experienced a four-year college prior to coming to MCC, I was at an advantage to compare the two. Coming to a community college has benefited me in so many ways. It’s been cost efficient, I have been able to get my associate degree debt free, no hassle. It’s also been very manageable. I have also benefited coming to a community college by learning from an environment that is curated with love, support, joy, zeal to learn, and that together is a recipe for a successful student. MCC professors have also been very understanding, given MCC students wear so many hats outside the classroom.

The ways MCC will help me in my future is by giving me the luxury to complete my Psychology degree debt free. I won’t have to worry about anything. I have been blessed to not take out any loans. MCC will also help in the future by setting a standard for the type of learning environment I aspire to experience. Since being here I have felt like a priority to most of my professors and they have curated a space where you can reach out to them and they will direct you to the right resources.

headshot photo of person outside

My next steps are not certain but I’m hoping to solidify a path by June as to where I’ll be attending this fall. My goals are to complete either a bachelor’s degree in Clinical or Behavioral Psychology. After graduating I plan on going for my master’s degree and finishing strong with a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology.

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