The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC grads many times can become post-grads

By Audrey Werth/tr news editor

For three graduate students, their time at TCC meant they could pursue interests and find a path with little financial burden while still focusing on work and family.

For Sarah Bishop, Casey Mitchell and Shelley Smith, their interests progressed throughout their education leading them to where they are now with their graduate degrees.

Bishop, a graduate student in communication disorders, attended TCC after transferring from a community college in California. She had multiple interests. Some she could explore and eliminate, and others she could bring together.

“I think community colleges in general are great for students,” she said. “I was able to meander along in my education with little financial burden and explore my interests.”

While at TCC, she took only three classes but still said her time here was encouraging.

“It really helped solidify for me that I did want to get an undergraduate degree in English literature,” she said.

Though her graduate program is different from her undergraduate degree, Bishop says they are related. During her undergraduate career, she pursued her interest in English and through her graduate degree program has found a way to combine that with her interests in psychology and neuroscience.

Like Bishop, Casey Mitchell could explore multiple potential interests at community college before deciding to get an undergraduate degree in English.

Starting out at TCC, Mitchell was an art major. Then, he thought music was what he wanted before finally settling on English.

Even after deciding on English, his interests developed further. While at the University of Texas at Arlington, Mitchell found he was more interested in his minor in medieval and early modern studies.

“It just drew me a little bit more than all of the theory that went into English,” he said.

Mitchell took time off before completing his undergraduate degree.

“Taking two years off between the associate and bachelor’s degree helped put things in perspective,” he said. “At that point, I was asking myself, ‘How bad do I want a degree? How bad do I want to work in something that I really love?’”

For Mitchell, it was important to find the drive to complete his degree because he funded much of his own education. His interest in graduate school was something that developed as he continued his education.

“Over time, I think I developed more of an interest in it,” he said. “When I started out at TCC, I was not the most motivated student, so it took a while to build that up.”

Smith also went to TCC while working for several years before she discovered what she wanted to study.

“I went to TCC part time over so many years,” she said. “I always worked, and then I had kids. And out of home and work and school, school became the No. 3 priority, unfortunately.”

When she first started out, she thought nursing would be her focus and completed almost all the requirements before realizing that it just wasn’t right for her.

“I took some time off, and when I came back, that’s when I decided that I wanted to go into education,” she said.

For someone with responsibilities outside of school, Smith said it was important to her that the professors were always understanding and willing to help students find a way to make everything work.

“When you are young, you never know what life is going to throw at you, and life changes so much. You change and you evolve, and your interests change and evolve,” she said.

Smith’s interests began to take shape while at TCC and during the time she took off to find out, like Mitchell, what she really wanted to pursue.

“The flexibility, the affordability and the professors that understand,” really made the difference for her, she said.

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