Zackary Blair has come a long way in discovering his goals for the future since he first came to Glen Oaks Community College two years ago. Blair admits he wasn’t sure how higher education worked when he first enrolled in classes, and that the school’s student support services have played a huge role in helping him through the process. When it comes to being successful at GOCC, Blair credits the TRiO/SSS (Student Support Services) program.
“Student support services—I cannot tell people enough how much they have helped me,” Blair states. “When I first came here, I was super nervous … I had been out of school for five years, I had no idea how to start … when I came in here to meet with the counselor they gave me a pamphlet for the TRiO program. I started looking at it– what it offered, who it’s offered to—and it had something for adults who were coming back to school, and I qualified. So I filled out the essay but didn’t realize how much it would impact my life. On my very first day, I found out one of my classes was too difficult—I hadn’t been refreshed enough and up to date in the course, so I had to backtrack a bit, but I wasn’t sure how to do that. So I ran down to the Student Support Services office and met with Anne Springsteen, student support services advisor, and made appointments with her once a week from that point on. It made me more comfortable knowing that there was somebody there to help me look out for things that I needed to do… I wouldn’t be nearly as successful if it wasn’t for the TRiO program.” Blair, who is a GOCC student ambassador, and was also inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Glen Oaks, recognizes his mentor-mentee relationship as a work study student for GOCC Admissions Director Tonya Howden as another significant part of his achievements here. His most gratifying moment at Glen Oaks was being asked to assist her in a work study position, and that “… that was a very proud moment here at Glen Oaks, because it meant that what I had been doing at Glen Oaks had gotten my name out, and Tonya wanted me in her office.”
Other motivations at GOCC for Blair have come from inspirational professors, who have helped him to discover his career goals—business marketing and specifically food and consumer packaged goods, which he is considering pursuing at Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business. “I took a business class just to see what it was like and did very well—I liked it, loved my professor, and decided to pursue business marketing. I try to be as creative as I can, and that allows me to express myself in a lot of different ways.” Blair feels that, at Glen Oaks, the ability for students to know their professors and work closely with them is another reason why students are so successful. “I love the business professors… I have a relationship with them and they know me by name. It makes my classes easier… I get a lot of feedback, and I’m willing to ask questions that some people normally wouldn’t ask.”
Blair feels that it is important to try to do your best at everything that you can while you’re in school. Blair says that “… even if you think you can’t do something, it never hurts to try… even if you fail or come up short, it was worth trying. I was not a runner, ever, until I took a fitness program here, and then I was soon on the cross country team. Are you really going to regret not doing something in ten years? That’s what I ask myself each time a new experience is offered to me.