Delaware County Community College will always be my favorite school despite the many degrees I obtained elsewhere and the things I learned about myself and my somewhat hidden potential.
I was the first in my family to go to college. My mother, whose own parents came from Hungary, was the first to graduate high school. My father, who immigrated from a Greek island when he was 15, never went beyond sixth grade.
Was I “college material?” I asked myself as I sat in a bunker in Vietnam in 1971 as a first lieutenant in charge of a mortar platoon. I had just finished reading Plato’s allegory about the cave. Years later, I learned he was comparing “the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature,” according to Wikipedia.
I used my parents’ address in Wayne, PA, some 30 miles outside of Philadelphia, and submitted the application several weeks before I left the war zone. I got home and was attending an “orientation” less than 30 days after the homecoming. Some long-hair skinny hippie-looking dude was welcoming everyone with a big hug. I thought to myself that I would deck him if he tried to touch me but he stayed away from me. (He must have recognized my PTSD.)
What should I major in, I asked my parents’ neighbor, a burly man from Scotland. Well, what did you study in high school, laddie?” he asked me. “Printing,” I told him about the trade school I graduated from in Philadelphia called Dobbins Tech.
“Well, you should study journalism,” he replied. “They’re both the same.”
No, not really, I learned as soon as I got to the school. But the advice stayed with me and I eventually followed the suggestion.
(See Part II for Community college creates career choices)