When I was growing up, most students progressed through their formal schooling in a very predictable way: elementary school, followed by high school, and for a minority of high school graduates, college immediately followed high school graduation. For an even more select minority, graduate school followed college.
As I meet students at Genesee Community College, I am struck by how much the predictable pattern of formal schooling has changed.
While it’s true that many Genesee students are 18 or 19 years old and recent high school graduates, many are in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. And many are 16 or 17 years old – still in high school, but delighted to get a head start on their college careers.
I have met students who began college at some point in the past, took a few years “off” to raise a child (or several), and then returned in search of a degree.
I have met men and women who took pride in the completion of successful careers, but returned to college in the hope of exciting new career challenges.
I have met veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan wishing to complete their education … longtime employees of regional businesses returning to college after suffering a layoff … grandparents eager to participate in college courses after years of anticipation.
All of these enthusiastic students have a message for us: education can – and should – happen throughout our lives.
For some, education might mean formal schooling, such as college. But education can also mean immersion in a new hobby or interest, a continuing education class in the arts, a commitment to read some great books, a regular appointment with a public television instructional program, a training seminar, or a self-paced internet course.
My hope is that every member of our community will make a commitment to lifelong education. We all have the ability to learn new things, and deep inside we all have the motivation and curiosity to learn. Whether you desire formal education in a classroom or informal education through books, media, or new experiences, I challenge you to seek new knowledge and skills.
As always, if I or our faculty and staff can assist you on your educational journey, please call us.
You can reach me anytime at (585) 345-6812 or email@example.com.
James M. Sunser, Ed.D.