Student Spotlight- Kelsey Kilmon
Our Current SGA President Tells Her ESCC Story
Everyone has a different way to get to where they want to be. Some people start out firm in their decisions about their life path, and others have a general idea but take a more roundabout way of getting to where they want to be. This is my story. It’s about a woman who is just starting to lay the foundations for her life goals at a time when most others have already established theirs. Life brought me down a unique path to Your Eastern Shore Community College. At ESCC there are students at many different stages of their education – some are just getting started. Other students already have some college experience, like me. I am picking up where I left off 17 years ago:
The question of whether or not I would attend college after graduating high school never existed for me – it was always a given that I would go. Both of my parents had attended 4-year universities, and my brother, sister, and I were all expected to as well. There was great emphasis placed on academic achievements, and due to this when I reached 9th grade I was placed in the Honors Diploma track. This was the guaranteed college acceptance diploma, and I graduated in 2004 with 9 Advanced Placement credits and an acceptance letter to Virginia Commonwealth University.
VCU is a very large school and it is spread out all over downtown Richmond. Before this I had lived on the Shore for most of my life, and all I really remember of that first week at VCU was feeling so lost and alone. This was through no fault of VCU’s.It was just such a different situation and there were so many people. For example, my Criminal Justice 101 class had close to 350 students in it – I was coming from a school where there were normally 12-18 kids per classroom! Even the more specialized classes like Abnormal Psychology had 50-70 students; everything felt so impersonal. My grades started to suffer and when it came time to enroll for my sophomore year I ended up coming home.
I kept meaning to go back to school after that, but life got in the way. I worked in restaurants – both front and back of the house – and was very good at it, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about college. There were also some years lost to substance abuse, but all I want to say about that is I’m in recovery now and this also contributed to my wanting to go back to school.
I had been looking at ESCC for a couple of years before I finally sent in my application. The initial attraction of the school was the cost and then the guaranteed admittance agreement with a lot of the four-year schools in Virginia. My dream is transfer to ODU and major in Human Services/Criminal Justice, and the college makes this dream accessible. I was 34 when I started classes at ESCC, and I also have a three-year-old so I have to be flexible in my scheduling, which the College provides. The teachers at the College have all been so accommodating and helpful; the ones I have had so far will go out of their way to make sure you understand the material. The classes are a good size, so there is no getting lost in the crowd here!
Going back to college as a “later-in-life” student can seem intimidating. I was embarrassed about not having a degree by my age, but I see now there is no reason for that. I do wish that I had used the ESCC as a transition between high school and a traditional four-year school when I was younger, but I can’t change the past, and what matters is that I am here now.
ESCC has what they call their YES! culture of hospitality and inclusion. YES! stands for Your Eastern Shore because the college belongs to all of us. It is My Eastern Shore now.