It was too great an opportunity to pass up

Samantha Zelm

During the final months of my senior year of high school, I made the decision to forgo attending
an out-of-state university and take advantage of the Promise Program; it was too great of an
opportunity to pass up, and it came at the perfect time. Financially, I knew this was the smartest
decision for me and my family, and in my heart I knew I wasn’t quite ready to move away from
home. When August arrived, I was eager to start a new chapter in my life; I set a goal for myself to
get involved and to make the most of my time at MCC.

Within weeks of starting classes, I realized that my preconceptions (and those that I took on from
others) about MCC were completely wrong. I loved the small class size and the fact that instructors
wanted to be there and genuinely cared about the material and their student’s education. While
at MCC, I changed not only my planned major but my post MCC plans as well. I found many, many
ways to get involved. I went on the Alternative Spring Break trip both years, was an Orientation
Student Leader, and participated in the L.E.A.D. program. Through all these experiences I met
some truly amazing people who I am lucky to still call my friends today.

The Promise Program gave me the opportunity to not only attend college at a time when the
economy made that hard to do, but also to give back to the community. I absolutely loved
volunteering, and for me it was easy to go above and beyond the required 16 hours. I earned the
Silver Cord Award for completing over 100 hours of community service/volunteering during my
time at MCC. When I wasn’t in class I was teaching Spanish at a local kindergarten, coaching a
team for Girls on the Run, and being a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Community service
is something I took with me when I graduated from MCC and is still a part of my
life today.

When my time at MCC came to an end, it was hard to say goodbye, but I left with a strong
foundation, most of my gen-eds completed, and no debt! I started at the University of Illinois
in Urbana-Champaign that fall where I studied Food Science and Human Nutrition with a
concentration in Dietetics. I graduated in December 2014 with a GPA and resume I’m proud of.
I currently work as a nanny for four amazing kids and am in the process of starting a blog where I
can combine my love for working with children and my passion for nutrition. I am so thankful for
MCC and the Promise Program for making my first years of college a time I will never forget.

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