This past semester I had the pleasure of co-teaching a success seminar for a group of students who earned GEDs and were making the transition to college. The program is aptly named “Project Link” as it literally provides a link from adult basic ed. programs to college. At the beginning of the course, there were 14 students, affectionatly called “Linksters”. All were in various stages of commitment to this college path. For most, school had been a struggle. Some finding it meaningless. Some finding it too much trying to be young mothers and students at the same time.
As we moved through the semester, life outside of college intervened, and we lost some students. This is very typical. On top of being academically underprepared, Linksters have incredibly complicated lives often working several jobs, raising young children, and/or dealing with learning or mental health disabilities.
This can be discouraging for us, as teachers , but the energy of the group of students who finished, made it all worthwhile.
Our core group became close, often cheering each other on. In the end, it truly was the power of this small community that helped each member keep going.
I remember one class in which we asked them to list their accomplishments and to share those with classmates. Initially, it was hard to think of accomplishments, but as they began to hear each other, lights went on. One young student, in particular, talked about how proud she is to be in college and to be doing as well as she is. This is the same young woman who had nothing to share about herself at the beginning of the semester. She was one who we worried might not last.
We heard similar stories from others. It was a great moment.
At the last class, they shared some final thoughts. One of our older male students who started out with no computer skills, gave a very polished power point he called “Get ‘er Done” which is just what he did.
Now that the links have been created, all the Linksters will enroll in BCC to continue their hard-won battle to come back to school.