By Andrea Alcantara

I have learned so much about myself since coming to Piedmont Community College. With two and a half years as a proud Pacer, I look back on my first year of college experience at a four-year university in Florida and know that now, I am right where I belong. Being at PCC, I have met and been mentored by many wonderful people. I got the opportunity to be a representative of my community college as a PCC Student Ambassador in the 2017-2018 academic year, and now have the privilege of being a part of the Student Government Association. These experiences have pushed me and allowed me to grow in ways that I know I never would have encountered if I had not taken this path. I am thankful for my time at PCC.

Each semester, the PCC Foundation selects three students to receive a $2,000 scholarship and represent the College as Student Ambassadors. At the end of my third semester at PCC, I was nominated by one of my instructors to apply. This scholarship opportunity was incredible in itself, but the experience of serving the College was also a major turning point. Before this opportunity was presented to me, I had not been very involved in what was happening on campus. I was here to get my degree and move on. I am a believer that everything happens for a reason, and I excitedly filled out the application, completed an essay, and prepared for my interview.

When I met with the interview committee, they asked me to pretend that I was talking to a group of potential students and tell them why they should choose PCC. All of the reasons I listed that day still remain true: PCC is close to home, it is incredibly affordable, there are many options and resources for financial help, classes are small, and (my favorite), the faculty and staff have the heart and passion for their students’ success – both academic and personal! What I learned since then was that this Ambassador opportunity was made possible by generous people in our very own community. They believed in us, cared about us, and provided the funding that would pay for much of my education at PCC. Strangers in my very own hometown had put their faith (and money) into my education, and I could not wait to make them proud.

Leaving my original plan to attend college in Florida was not an easy one, but I know now that if it had not been for that change in plans, I would not be where I am today. PCC has become my home, and the friends and supportive staff that have guided me along the way have helped me not only to readjust, but to flourish. This environment makes it easy to feel comfortable and I know that I can go to anyone here for advice, tutoring, or support – they will not allow me to fail. PCC is not just a place where we go to study and get a degree. It is a place where you can be part of a family and a true community, and grow into the person you want to be in life. From our advisors to our instructors, staff in Financial Aid and in the PCC Foundation, they are all there to help us reach those dreams.

I know I do not only speak for myself, but for so many other students who have found support and success at Piedmont Community College, when I say that this season, I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for showing us a community that looks out for each other. That is what sets us apart and makes us unique!

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