The Power of ACC

Like you, I’m exhausted.

I’m frustrated.

I’m frazzled.

I’m unfocused.

But do I have a pick-me-up for us all – a note from a student about the power of ACC and our comprehensive, open door, open access mission.

This email found its way by a rather circuitous route to Ron Johns, who shared it with me and a few others. Read it and celebrate the power of ACC:

“I have been looking for someone to share my gratitude with for the last few months and have been unable to find a suitable administrator to say thank you to so forgive me if you are not the person I should be emailing. However, I must tell someone at ACC the importance of your institution and I hope you will indulge me for a quick minute.

I graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in Arabic from ACC last Spring (2021). Before returning to study at ACC my life was a complete mess. I had no prospects and I was adrift, lost on a journey that seemed never to open into any form of a future. I was paralyzed with very little hope of becoming the man I wanted to become with little knowledge of what that even entailed. On a whim I looked up classes and saw that you offered Arabic classes. This random entrance back into higher education had no real go other than to test the waters and potentially learn a little bit of a language I was intrigued by. As I mentioned above, this informal excursion back into academia led me to attain my Associate degree at ACC. It also helped me repair a GPA I had destroyed years before as well as allowed me to reintegrate into the culture and rigor of higher learning (something sorely lacking in my toolkit). However, after graduating from ACC I became somewhat adrift, not really knowing where next I should continue my journey. I decided to take one class this past fall semester, a ceramics class (and I must say you all have done such a wonderful job with your arts department, it is an incredible experience). While taking this one class I was informed of a virtual school fair held by Columbia University’s School of General Studies. I did not attend the school fair, but it did implant the idea of applying to Columbia University, a school I would have never even considered applying to prior to ACC. Somehow, and beyond my comprehension, I was accepted to the spring semester here at Columbia. We are going into our fourth week of classes now and it has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

I write all of this to say to you, plainly and clearly, thank you. Thank you so incredibly much. Without ACC I would not be here at Columbia. Without ACC I would still be lost. I may not have always believed in ACC’s statement “Start here. Get there.” You have proven my lack of belief foolish. I can say without a doubt that what I started there, paved my way here. Thank you for everything you all are committed to and thank you for everything your institution has done for me. They may want me to call myself a Columbia Lion, but I’ll never stop being a Riverbat!

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.”

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