My Experience at SMCC

April 23, 2018

Christine Dunnells

CMIT 295


I am a mother of 6 and a grandmother of 3 beautiful children. I have been attending SMCC for almost 3 years now and am nearing the end. I am only 2 classes away from finishing my IT degree after this fall semester. Initially I was going for a dual major in IT and Cyber Security, however, currently I am rethinking this plan.

During most of my time here at SMCC I have divided my time with my daughter’s needs. We commuted to and from school together for two semesters. She recently finished her degree program at SMCC in Medical Assisting back in the Fall of 2017 and has been hired by her externship site as a full time employee. The accomplishments of helping my daughter achieve her goals for a chance at a future in her new and young life has been my main focus and the most rewarding. I also got hired as a work study student in the IT Department here at SMCC in the beginning of my educational journey and continued this for 2 years. The combination of classroom instruction and hands on experience in Help Desk Support working with IT, has truly been a blessing and given me the extra learning curve I needed. I was unfamiliar with Enterprise level IT support until I entered into this work study program. It has been an eye opener into the much bigger world of IT.

I have had some very rewarding classes here at SMCC with some very talented and caring instructors. Working in the IT Department, I gained a new respect for the instructor’s point of view by way of their needs and IT support requests. Being a student in the class, I could understand fully the importance and need for equipment requests or repairs because these things directly affected my learning experience as well. So as a Help Desk Support Specialist in the IT Department, I had the understanding to truly care about the needs of the instructor’s and the ability to do everything in my power to assist and deliver services to them. I have learned that to truly be a great IT Support Specialist, you need to experience the environment from all perspectives. Being a student and a work study employee gave me the rounded experience I needed to be more empathetic and understanding to the needs of the staff and instructors at the college, therefore allowing me to offer the best support that I could.

My work ethic is one that highly values honesty and fairness. I go above and beyond in whatever I do. I bring my ethical morals and big heart into any work environment I am a part of. I am happiest at a job where I am allowed the freedom to be creative. I believe this field I am in warrants more of a business mindset, however, I realize that I will need to find the area in this field that will allow me to both serve the organization’s best interest while staying true to my own personal morals. Currently I work for myself running my own computer repair business out of my home and servicing the local community. Most of my clients are woman in the older age group. I value my clients very much, they feel they can trust me and that I am fair. I often help out with small needs like personalizing their pc experiences or just showing them how to accomplish a task they have need of on my own time. I have done several jobs at no charge for senior citizens. This is my way of giving to those who otherwise may not be able to afford or have the same opportunities as the rest of us.

My challenges and rewards over the past 3 years have been trying at times as well as satisfying. During my time here at SMCC I have experienced one of my children getting married for the first time, becoming a grandmother for the first time with now 3 grandchildren, my first child graduating from college, the loss of a close pet, the loss of my one and only sister, my mother in law breaking both shoulders, just to name a few. The IT Department and my instructors have been an absolute blessing and so understanding and helpful along the way. I am certainly going to miss SMCC.

With the recent loss of my sister, I am kind of in limbo on what my future holds. I’ve had ideas and dreams develop and change over the course of my time here, and this unexpected event has put things on a bit of hold for me at the moment. I do know that when I start looking for my ideal IT job, it will most likely be one with a company that is small and on more of a personable level. I don’t think I am cut out at my age for the big enterprise business road. My other idea is to dive back into my own personal business that I put on hold a bit while attending school and growing it bigger. One of the downsides to this is not having benefits that are more important the closer I am to retirement age. The other is whether I can come up with enough business to bring in a decent and somewhat steady income. A third option would be to go on for a 4-year degree. Should I decide to further my degree, I first need to decide that it would be beneficial or even necessary. While I love learning new things and want to know more, I think I am ready at this stage to go right into the work force and learn more hands on in the field.

If I could change anything with my experiences at SMCC, it would be that they offered a larger variety of instructors for some of the CMIT courses. While I enjoyed each one, I found some instructors to fit my learning style better than others, depending on their expertise in the subject as well. If I could have picked and chosen certain instructors for certain courses, I feel it would have provided me with a much more effective learning environment. One of the bigger reasons that I may not choose to go on for my Cyber Security is that I do not feel there are enough of a variety of instructors for these classes. My learning style is unique, and I understand what works for me and what doesn’t. While some electives are ideal for the online environment, I do not feel core courses should be taught online. At least that is my opinion. I prefer interaction in the classroom and online has its limits. I need a combination of visual and hands on learning. I am not an auditory learner at all. All in all, my courses and my learning here at SMCC has been a perfect fit for me and worked out very well. As I said, I will miss coming here and I will miss many of the instructors as well.