I’m currently in my senior year ( finishing up my last 2 semesters) at Michigan State University, majoring in Sociology and will be graduating May 2015. I just spent a month this past summer studying abroad in Amsterdam and Brussels, where I had the opportunity to examine Sexuality and Gender Politics within the Netherlands, which was absolutely the best experience I have had up to date. When I’m not analyzing the sociological framework of society, I spend my free time composing music and songwriting, which is my greatest passion. I’ve also started my own blog, posting my fashion and various experiences throughout life in the city ( www.stopdropclothe.blogspot.
com ). I look forward to graduating and hopefully moving to Toronto afterwards to start the next chapter of my life.
It seems like such a long time since OEC's first full class was graduating last June. I am currently finishing my second semester at Binghamton University. I have really enjoyed being away from home and experiencing all that college life has to offer. OEC has given me a great foundation that has made transitioning to a four-year institution quite simple. I have gotten involved in both the personal finance and micro-finance organizations at Binghamton and also work as a desk attendant at the fitness center on campus. During my first semester I earned a 3.7 GPA and was on the dean's list. Although I love being at Binghamton, I am excited to be back in Michigan for the summer and working at Chrysler Group LLC as a Network & Fleet Development intern. In the fall, I will return to Binghamton for two additional semesters to complete a B.S. in Financial Economics. Along with jump starting my education, OEC has taught me about the importance of being a lifelong learner. I hope to be accepted into a PhD. program to continue my studies in Economics after graduating from Binghamton.
I think often about how I carry that OEC spirit with me since I graduated. Post-OEC I attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where I studied Educational Technology and Curriculum Development. Hampshire, like OEC, has a community dedicated to meaningful educational experiences that last a lifetime. The skills I learned at OEC served me well at Hampshire and allowed me to excel in way I could have never imagined. After graduating from Hampshire, I immediately got a job teaching math at a semester school called CITYterm. CITYterm is a semester long program for 11th and 12th graders that embraces an experience based learning philosophy by using New York City as its classroom and laboratory. Getting a job like this right out of college is pretty much a dream come true and OEC was a huge factor in putting me on a track to be as successful as I am today. At CITYterm, we talk often about embracing the DKDK zone, which is the state of mind you have when you didn't even know that you didn't know about an idea, concept or thing you discovered. OEC pushes students to expand their boundaries by exploring things that they didn't know they didn't know about. By taking from a vast variety of college classes, an OEC education provides you with a rich perspective that you simply can't get elsewhere. OEC gives you an opportunity to engage with a diverse student body both on the Early College level and the Larger Oakland Community College level at large. I hope that I can create a similar environment for my students at CITYterm that the faculty at OEC were able to create for me and my classmates. This is an environment where students can feel safe to grow, explore, and take risks. Its an environment that doesn't just give you an opportunity to learn about academics subjects, it gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself as a learner, a community member, and a person. OEC engages you as a whole person, and as a result transforms you in a way no other school could.When I think back to my time at OEC, I remember what an exciting time it was. As the first graduating class, I think we had a very innovative and pioneering spirit. None of us knew when we enrolled at OEC if the program was going to be successful. The school didn't exist yet, it was a huge leap of faith to enter into a school that was just starting out. There was many times when I think we felt like we were in a giant experiment, and whether it worked or not depended on us as a community, taking risks, making mistakes, and paving a pathway for what the school would become. I don't think any of us could have foreseen the incredible impact OEC would come to have on our lives and continues to have on the lives of its students today. There was a huge feeling of family at OEC among the students and the faculty. That community created an environment where we learned to work together, think critically and engage with ideas and topics in ways that most traditional high schools can't provide. Being at OEC demanded that we always push ourselves to be better and do better in every aspect of our lives. It demanded that we learn not just because we are required to be in school by law, but rather by our own conviction that our education was important and would lead us to amazing things. OEC gave us tools to succeed, follow our passions and make connections in a way that was nothing short of transformative. I love OEC and can't wait to see what our going population of alumni will contribute to the world.