Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trident Technical College – a Valuable Asset to our Community

Dawn R. Wells
Future Alumni Essay Contest - Runner-up

After being a stay at home mom for nearly two decades, I realized that my job as mom would eventually come to a close and I wanted to start something new. I was comfortable being in the shadows of my husband's accomplishments; therefore, I assumed I would get a part time job and do some volunteer work. Behind the safe thoughts of an entry level job, was a gnawing desire to get a degree and have a career that could support me if something happened to my husband. I was not sure of what I wanted to do as a career or where to start. I did not know much about Trident Technical College; I assumed it was for people that did not want a four-year degree. I applied at College of Charleston and was denied based on poor academic performance at a college twenty-five years prior. I applied to Trident with the idea that I would prove myself worthy of College of Charleston. When I registered, I was told to declare a major. At that time, I realized that Trident partnered with other schools for engineering degrees. I liked the idea of being a civil engineer and building structures. Civil engineering sounded fun; how hard could that be? I have raised teenagers. What could be more challenging than that?

I was floored by the changes and challenges of beginning school again. My first year, I was like a baby that did not know anything about college. I was confused about payment dates, FAFSA, G.P.A., D2L, scholarships, using a computer, and just about everything. My math teachers have helped me survive my first year as an engineering student. After a year of classes, I earned a 4.0 GPA and a scholarship for the upcoming semester. I became a math tutor and a member of both the honor society and the civil engineers club. Over the summer I also enjoyed the opportunity to shadow engineers at the Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston.

 I completely underestimated the impact that being a successful college student would bring. I wish that I would have started sooner. I love my new life. My confidence has skyrocketed. I love being a role model to my children and other students. It is exciting to have new financial opportunities, even as a student, through internships and tutoring. I have been so thankful that I stumbled into engineering at Trident. When I began, I did not have the tools or courage to embark on such a challenging career. The teachers and tutors here have assisted me in my journey as a successful future engineer. I have gradually grown in my confidence and competency as a student. The environment at this school and the quality of the staff members have helped transform my life and given me a real vision for the future. It is a beautiful thing to have my children ask me for help with school, and I can assist them. I encourage friends and family to take classes to help understand politics, business, and just for fun.

I wholeheartedly believe in the value that Trident brings to our community. I needed a smaller school with quality staff to help me transition back into school. There is such a variety of opportunities at this college. It is crucial for a person to get a good paying job without a bachelor’s degree. I will continue to encourage students to start and finish their education. I am especially partial to seeing students succeed in the math and science fields. I would love to have more than twenty percent of civil engineers be women. The volunteer work that I have chosen is math tutoring; I want to help people feel competent at something challenging. It is empowering and transforming. Also, I find it very gratifying to connect people to resources that they need in their academic journey. I know how important it is to network and receive valuable guidance. Overall, I cannot imagine starting at another school besides Trident Technical College, and I could not have achieved what I have without the strong support of others. I will continue to be a person that says "work hard," "finish," and here are some tools to make that happen.

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