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

Former 4-year students find connection


By Audrey Werth/tr news editor

Tcc gives chance to find ‘right fit’

Some students transfer to TCC from four-year schools because they didn’t find the experience they were expecting at a university.

Amy Orcott, like others, came to TCC from a university. Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian
Amy Orcott, like others, came to TCC from a university.
Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian

Amy Orcott, a former TCC student and Texas Christian University graduate, began studying at Texas State University after one semester at TCC but came back because Texas State wasn’t the right fit for her.

“I got kind of mad that my friends were off having a more traditional college experience, so I applied to Texas State and went there,” she said. “Ultimately, I figured out that the smaller-town college and living-on-campus experience just wasn’t for me. That’s part of the reason I decided to come back.”

Orcott would have had to live in a dormitory again, so, preferring to have her own space, she decided to return to TCC.

“I really enjoyed the school, and it was a really beautiful campus,” she said. “But, ultimately, I think I liked being home in Fort Worth better.”

She started out thinking she would study mathematics and declared as a math education major at Texas State.

“I took calculus at Texas State and had a great time with it,” she said. “It wasn’t actually until I came back to TCC that I took Cal. II and physics at the same time and just kind of barely squeaked by. I realized that it wasn’t really something that I was enjoying past that level.”

After being unsure what path to take for a semester, Orcott ended up studying history when she transferred to TCU.

“I kind of figured out that something along the lines of counseling was what I wanted to do,” she said. “When I picked history, it was mostly because I enjoyed the subject. Going into things like advising, there’s not really a specific degree that you need to have, but a history degree was good because it did build up a lot of writing and creative thinking skills.”

Orcott worked in the center for distance learning at TCC while studying here. After transferring to TCU, she was promoted to a part-time position above the one she had as a student worker.

Currently, she works as a transfer admissions counselor on NE and TR campuses.

“Once I found the job that I have now, I kind of knew that that was the job that was made for me because of my specific skill set and experience,” she said.

Orcott thinks some students feel shame about starting out at four-year universities and then transferring back to TCC.

“Sometimes people come to me, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, well, I started here, but now I’m back at TCC,’” she said. “I would say for students to maybe push that from their mind. I would not have been able to afford TCU had I not gone to TCC for a couple of years first.”

Like Orcott, Madeleine Beck was not satisfied by the traditional college experience she had expected at Texas A&M.

“At College Station, I was only a student. I was one in 52,000,” she said. “Here, I feel like I’m one on one with everybody else who has the same potential that I do.”

Beck had always planned on studying journalism, but she didn’t want to go to a school where everyone would have the same major as she, so she decided to study communications at Texas A&M.

“How I wound up at Texas A&M, I don’t know, except for the fact that I liked it when I went there [to visit],” she said. “But, when I got there, it became increasingly obvious that you either fit in with that culture, or you didn’t, and from then on, it wasn’t enough stimulus for me.”

Beck said she was bored while at Texas A&M and had no motivation to fulfill requirements for her major.

After talking with her parents, they decided if she were to transfer out, she would have to come home and complete her core requirements before moving on.

“This ended up being the best decision of my life because I didn’t realize how unhappy I was doing something that I didn’t want to do,” she said.

She now goes to TR full time and works as a partner in her father’s construction business.

This is a change from her original plan, but she now hopes to continue on to TCU. She still wants to pursue a degree in journalism but also work in real estate with her parents to have financial security while working toward her goals as a writer.

“It’s very weird when you have to take a step back and realize that you’re not doing what you need to be doing,” she said, “but, honestly, TCC was probably one of the better things that’s happened to me as far as being able to take a breath but not fall behind.”

TR student Eddie Leach spent five semesters at a small private school in Keene. He eventually dropped out, resuming his education at TCC two years later after working several jobs to pay off debts.

“I don’t have parents. My parents have passed away,” he said. “So having to provide for myself, I had to work.”

While in school in Keene, Leach began working at restaurants and bartending. He worked full time while taking on a full course load as well.

“Not having anybody to mentor me on how to balance work and school, I was just kind of out there on my own, and work took over,” he said. “I actually failed five classes in one semester. That’s devastating in so many ways. I ended up dropping out of the university because of academic probation and financial issues.”

Leach had to work to pay off credit card debt. He also had payments on his apartment that he had let go and car payments to make.

“Back then, I was too prideful to ask for help,” he said. “I was too prideful to say, ‘I can’t work this shift because I have a test.’ My manager would even ask me how school was going, and I would lie and just say, ‘Oh, it’s going good,’ because I didn’t want to talk about the issues.”

Leach said taking on so many financial responsibilities like an apartment and a loan to get a truck made it difficult to focus on school. Work had to be a priority. He couldn’t put it on the back burner when school got more difficult.

“I actually got to the point that I was physically exhausted and in bed for three days,” he said, “not because I was sick, but because I hadn’t been getting sleep, and so I actually missed work and class. That was like the peak. That semester, I failed.”

Once Leach had gotten back on his feet financially, he started taking classes at TCC. He began studying construction, working on requirements toward a degree in civil engineering, thinking down the line he would become a professor.

“I ended up deciding that I was more passionate about helping other students succeed and figuring things out like I have,” Leach said. “Helping students helped me decide that I wanted to change to education, so I am pursuing that now.”

He said coming to TCC has changed his perspective of community college. Now, he sees it as a great place for second starts where students can learn from the variety of people who attend. He used to think of it as a step down but sees that TCC really has a lot to offer students.

“TCC has helped me figure out what my major is going to be and helped me have the confidence to pursue what I really want to do,” he said.

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