Students Just Like Me

I've been out of school for a while.

Shaunna Burns – Where I began to see success in my academic life was during my first semester attending YCCC. I registered for a class for first-year students. I hadn’t attended school in over 15 years and I was excited and intimidated to begin a new chapter in my life. This particular class was designed to help students succeed and give them tools they would be able to carry with them throughout their academic journey. I had brought a set of tools with me when I started at YCCC that felt rusty and not quite defined. What I gained in this class was a foundation for my education. The greatest gain was the importance to ask for help if you needed it. It was even encouraged.

Michael Oliver  – I have learned that I didn’t need to be scared to come back to school. I was nervous about taking classes and using the technology that wasn’t there last time I was in school. I have learned that I can be a leader in college as well as a full-time student. I have learned each person wears many hats and it has been a privilege to learn from the young minds here at YCCC. One of the most important things I have learned here is patience.

Genevieve Sweeney YCCC has allowed me to achieve goals that I never would have imagined for myself. Having been out of school for over 50 years plus, I was shown that I could again learn and be part of the YCCC community. The first day that I walked into YCCC, I was greeted with “You can do this!” I can go back to school at age 71! I can learn once again; I can study; I can achieve what is important to me. All the professors have given me a sense of accomplishment and have helped me to put aside my fears. The YCCC community has given me the strength and confidence to obtain my degree.

Sarah Thomas  – Although I have not succeeded fully yet but I’m still working towards my goal. I do it by believing that great reward awaits me and cutting off unnecessary things out of my life. Putting what matters first. I have learned that going to college depends on my personal motivation. Succeeding in college depends on my determination and perseverance.

I knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn't know what I wanted to do

Kayla Bragdon – It has been a long, hard road, but with the help and support of some amazing people here at the school, and the support of my family I feel like I can accomplish anything. I have finally figured out what it is i want to do with my life and am on the road to do just that. The first and most important thing I have learned about myself is i am human, just like everyone else in the class. I don’t feel like I am the only one that has the question or that I am less than anyone else in the room. We are all adults, and we are all here to learn and to achieve our goals. I have grown as a person, I have learned what I love, and what my purpose is in this life.

Kota McKay -I now have a solid vision of what I want to do. I learned that I can actually do more than I thought I could. Academic fields that I thought were not interesting to me, I have found that they are interesting subjects. After taking the classes, it helped me find out my real interests.


Gideon Spaulding – Success to me is happiness. Whatever sort of combination of virtues, wealth, passion, work, health, and love makes someone more happy, then they are successful when they are actively seeking and nurturing those things. There is no benchmark, what brings me joy might not do the same for someone else. What might be a minor happiness for me can be major for someone else and vice versa. Through my time at YCCC, I achieved success by nurturing all of the aforementioned things directly and indirectly by trying to engage within the college. YCCC was an environment where I could explore courses, meet people, and participate in activities that might make me feel more successful, but I had to take the risk of giving the new experiences a try. I took courses by merit of being interested in them to gain knowledge and to discover the difference between intrigue and my future career and academic identity. I worked hard to do a good job in my courses not just because it felt good to do a good job and not just because I value knowledge, but to discover what I really wanted to pursue for school and career. I put myself out there and engaged with students and teachers. I found people to study with, resources, and places like the Learning Center in which I could do my work and meet like-minded peers to work with and have fun with in-between. I found time to participate in extra-curricular activities hosted by the college (small sport events, clubs, student lounge, get-togethers, etc…). I found peers who enjoyed school, sports, and music like me and we engaged with one another between and after classes. These moments were not just a healthy break, but it was another motivation of being excited to come to campus and go to classes.

I wasn't sure I was ready to go to college.

Sydney Clendaniel –  I have achieved many successes at YCCC. I have grown more independent as a young adult. I have shown myself that I am capable of continuing my education. I’ve done this by proving to myself every day that I am capable if I continue to study and be confident. I have achieved many good grades and others not so much, but I learn from the mistakes by studying and being aware of what needs to get done.

Kelcie Hasty – I have achieved success at YCCC in more ways than I can count. I am a completely different person academically. I have passed all of my classes and not dropped any! Even if the grades weren’t what I wanted I still try my best and push myself more and more as I go on. I have gained a different type of independence and confidence from pursuing an education on my own. It’s a feeling that nobody can take away from me. It has moved me in the right direction in all aspects of life. For example, I work full time, I have my very own apartment, I’ve maintained my own car, and built an unbelievable relationship. My achievements might seem small to others, but for me, they are things I never thought possible when I started out. I truly didn’t see myself being able to stay interested and focused enough to finish out a semester. But here I am, pursuing colleges to transfer to and found a major I’m in love with (sustainable agriculture).

Michelle McNeil-Brown  – I have achieved success at YCCC in two ways: first, I graduated with my Associate’s degree in Accounting back in 2006. It was my first diploma, as I am a high school dropout. It was an enormously happy day for me when I received that diploma in the mail. My second achievement was when I became an adjunct professor at YCCC. Teaching is so rewarding on many levels. At first, I was terrified that I didn’t have what it takes, but over the last few years, I have learned so much about myself and about people that I know that I am successful in my position as a teacher at YCCC.

Megan Wakefield –  My success at York County Community college came slowly, but surely. Little did I know that a slow pace was what I needed. The time to learn about the school and how I manage workload gave me a sense of confidence. Every class I attended, I found more about what I was capable of. This allowed me to pave a path of interest in Behavioral Health and explore all of the options I had in front of me. My success was driven by a goal and desire to leave YCCC with a degree that I had my heart fully submerged in.

I have a lot of responsibilities; I did know if I could fit college into my busy life.

Paula Brousseau – I am stronger than I thought. I juggle work, school and being a single mother on a daily basis and still try to make time to talk to my friends on a regular basis. I have won the sole parental rights of my son since my journey began and now have an apartment. It’s been tough, but interesting. I am not only doing this for myself but for my children. My kids are a little too young to realize exactly what I am doing, but when my now 9-year-old says she is proud of me for taking classes it makes me want to work harder.

Tiffany Delisle – At my lowest point, I was working two full-time jobs and going to school full time, I simply struggled with the classroom demands. I found myself struggling to balance my education and my jobs (which were keeping me meeting my needs, independently). I was kindly reminded that I was working so hard to successfully obtain a secondary education so I could go further in my future, however, I had made my reality to prioritize my jobs instead… I was seriously contemplating dropping out. I eventually cut back on work hours just made things work. Also, knowing that Trio and the staff were there, spoke volumes for me. I found myself avoiding them when I was struggling… why?, because I knew they would tell me what I NEEDED to hear. I didn’t feel like just another consumer of the school, but a student, in which the school wanted me to be successful.

I faced a lot of challenges before college and I wasn't sure that I could succeed.

Amber Provencher – I have achieved the biggest success of my life at YCCC by overcoming the odds. I have been predisposed to maltreatment, addiction, poverty and more at a very young age. Research suggests a child’s reactions to trauma can interfere considerably with learning and/or behavior at school. But I have achieved everything and more at YCCC. I have sustained well above average grades, and my passion for education and a better life grows more and more. YCCC, provided several things to help me overcome my odds, may it be a safe clean atmosphere to indulge in, new educational subject matter, or credible advice from role models. YCCC has given me tangible and intangible things I have never experienced. These emotions have evoked me to push myself even more. YCCC has shown me I can be anyone who I want regardless of my upbringing. YCCC gave me support and something to look up to.

Paula Brousseau – For me to answer this I have to go back a little to before I applied. I was living in Caring Unlimited transitional housing and fighting for custody of my son. When I applied I was on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and was the last group to do the DOORS program. If it hadn’t been for that program, I wouldn’t have applied when I did. My first success was pushing my fears aside and applying. After that I looked at each course I passed as a success and, let me tell you, some were pretty hard. Not because of the workload, but because of the way it made me look at my life. I have learned to take each course as it comes and not think so much of the next step. For each course I have to remind myself if I fail, I can always redo it. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have made it this far without the support of my family, friends and those that don’t know me all that well. When things get hard at home and I feel something has to give, I talk to a loved one and it always helps. I have also, through the courses I have taken, realized I am not alone. Many students have stories that I have learned and I have to say I am very proud of them for all the success they have made.

Shaunna Burns – When I made the decision to enroll in classes, I promised myself I would go to any length to achieve my educational goals. My experience prior to attending YCCC was that I was always too afraid to ask for help. I knew it was different this time around, but with the support of my professor and classmates in this First-Year Seminar class, I knew I could ask for help regardless of how it made me feel. During my first semester, I was also enrolled in a math class. I struggled with math and wasn’t sure how I was going to navigate the challenges academically. However, with the tools I was gaining in my First- Year class, I investigated the options the school had to offer. I was led to the Tutoring Center where I was able to get extra help and invest in the time I needed to succeed in my Math class. I found I wasn’t afraid to ask for help and it created room for more confidence in my education. What I discovered with my new gained tools and foundation, was I had it in me all along to succeed in school. I needed the confidence to believe in myself. The First-Year Seminar class gave me that confidence to succeed. It highlighted my positive attributes and showed me how to enhance the ones I struggled with. I had poor study habits and battled with time management. Challenges still arise, but I walk through each of them one at a time. Embracing the challenges has led to my success academically. After completing the course, I was able to walk away feeling more confident in my decision to go back to school and follow through with my goals no matter how hard it may get. This is only a beginning for me and I am grateful YCCC offered a course like The First Year Seminar! It has been the largest contributing factor to my success at YCCC and my foundation for my education.

Tiffany Delisle – I achieved success at YCCC by simply graduating with an associate’s degree…and moving on to obtain my bachelor’s degree and become a fully licensed social worker. I graduated from YCCC by the support they offered. YCCC acknowledged me by my name, my current situation at that time, and my ‘story’ and the baggage I was still carrying around. Knowing I had Kate and Joan through the Trio program is what really helped me actually get through it all. At my lowest point, I was working two full-time jobs and going to school full time, I simply struggled with the classroom demands. I found myself struggling to balance my education and my jobs (which were keeping me meeting my needs, independently). I was kindly reminded that I was working so hard to successfully obtain a secondary education, so I could go further in my future, however, I had made my reality to prioritize my jobs instead. I was seriously contemplating dropping out. I eventually cut back on work hours just made things work. Also, knowing that Trio and the staff were there, spoke volumes for me. I found myself avoiding them when I was struggling… why? Because I knew they would tell me what I NEEDED to hear. I didn’t feel like just another consumer of the school, but a student, in which the school wanted me to be successful. No matter what life throws your way, you make your choices in where your life leads you, you choose those paths. I find it true that people learn tremendously when they are faced with challenges in any area of life, there’s always something to take away or learn from. Take those challenges as lessons for what you’re faced with in the future. I truly believe that the experiences that a person endures makes them stronger.
Skye Miller I have overcome my severe social anxiety to attend the classes I need for one of my dream careers, and with the help of many supports and driven personality, I continue to move forward, succeeding in the many steps it takes towards my goals.

Lorraine Neil – I grew up in Chicago where my education didn’t matter to anyone and subsequently, did not matter to me. I bounced around from school to school before finally getting my GED and then entering the military. Those times were hard and after some traumas, I had endured I turned to drugs to cope. Years later I married, got clean, had my first child and then my second. I could never quite get my footing because the feelings of worthlessness I felt as a child in my education, the trauma I had endured in the military and shame of being an ex-drug abuser all stayed with me. When I came to YCCC, my second child was 6 months old and I was battling postpartum depression. I knew if I didn’t do something to make myself proud that I would never feel like a good example for my children. While I earned my associates I was able to use the skills I had learned as Public Affairs in the military to begin helping my peers with their writing. The staff and faculty at YCCC not only gave me, someone I had long ago deemed hopeless, a chance to help others but also a renewed sense of self. Not only was I encouraged by YCCC, I was supported and trusted. For some people there comes a time where they stop trusting themselves. They’ve seen the bad they are capable of and the people around them have held up mirrors to the point where only their flaws are apparent. I was broken, scared and felt like I had nothing to contribute to the world. At YCCC, I was handed the baton and trusted to be a part of a team that drives student success… and I ran with it. There is no way I am the same person I was when I came here. Because of YCCC I know how much I’m worth.

Callum Toole I have learned many things since I started at YCCC. I’ve learned that you can’t always do things on your own. I’ve learned that the people who teach the curriculum and classes make a HUGE difference. If they’re not invested in it, why should I be? I’ve learned that while one thing may seem a certain why, it isn’t always the only option. Lastly I’ve learned that having a group of people who support and believe in what you’re doing is VITAL to you being able to achieve your goals.

Megan Wakefield I learned many, many things about myself during my time at York County Community college, including hope. Before applying to YCCC, I was in a negative state of mind where I truly believed that I would never attend a school again after dropping out of the University of Maine Orono. My excuses went on: “School is too expensive”, “I cannot manage classes and a job”, “the workload is too difficult”, “I am scared to try something new”. I decided one day that I was tired of not having the credentials and education to further myself. My goals were not being achieved and that was discouraging. After applying to YCCC, I asked myself repeatedly why I had not done this sooner? From the first day to the last, I was greeted with open and accepting arms. This school helped me with financial aid, scholarships, extra help as needed, and a schedule that was accommodating to my work schedule. I realized that I was capable of overcoming my fears and accomplishing my goals with excellence, as long as I had the proper resources to support me along the way.

I graduated! You can too!

Amber Provencher – How I would personally describe success as the motivation you have within your steps to reach personal goals or aspirations. Your steps are not measures by size or length, but rather your effort, strength and drive to move forward.
Lorraine Neil When I walked into YCCC all I knew was that I wanted to do something with my life. Over the next two years, through my interactions with my peers, my professors, and YCCC leadership, I was able to shape that idea and find the best possible routes to accomplish those goals. YCCC and I were a team. Determination and will power can get you far, but support, education and encouragement will take you all the way.

Michael Oliver – I think I am still working on achieving success at YCCC. This is not something that happens overnight and I have worked hard and continue to work hard to get there. I use the tools provided to me to get where I want to be. I have used the staff as well as other students to help accomplish my goals.


Genevieve Sweeney – I have learned many things about myself since enrolling into a writing class for seniors three years ago. I can go back to school at age 71; I can learn once again; I can study; I can achieve what is important to me. The YCCC community has given me the strength and confidence to obtain my degree.


Jenna Weaver – Success is seeing the great results of all your hard work. Too easily are dreams and goals given up because of challenges and sacrifices. Just because it takes a while does not mean that those dreams can never be achieved. Success is sticking through until the end, seeing how far you’ve come, remembering those who influenced you, and the positive impact you leave for others to come.

College is so different from high school! It opened up a whole new world for me.

Amber Provencher  – I have found myself at this college. I have become the best me I have ever been in my entire life. I am successful, I am smart, I am compassionate, I am eager to learn and grow as a young woman. It truly is all thanks to this education and the credible educators that I had the privilege of learning from. I have learned with enough hard work, passion, and drive, I can surpass all obstacles in my way. I learned to try new things and discover hidden talents, and I can help people around me despite needing help myself.

Megan O’Connell – When I began taking classes at YCCC in the Fall of ’17, I realized how much I genuinely enjoy studying the course content when it adheres to my area of interest. I quickly found myself excelling in my classes out of pure passion and that is something I didn’t have in high school. I learned that it is important to get good grades, but it is just as important to have fun while doing it.


Hayden-Marie Taute – Determination has pulled me through the entire way. I started as a Dual Enrollment Student, and through that, I was able to graduate high school a year early. From there, I did a lot of research on what I would be best suited, for a life-long career. While researching, I was advised to get a Liberal Studies degree, because it would help my resume, I would be more “well-rounded”, and I’d have to take a chunk of those classes for whichever field of study I would pursue in afterward. After a few failed attempts at a few colleges elsewhere, I realized I was best suited for a program that had an internship of some form, as I found it incredibly difficult to go from school to career (In part, was a lack of confidence, as I didn’t have something in between). I needed something in between.

Megan Wakefield Personally, I achieved my goals at York County Community College by attending my classes regularly, participating in discussions within a class, open communication with peers and professors, and reaching out for help when I needed it. Being open and vulnerable to change was difficult at first, but learning new things began to excite me. Fear is what was holding me back before YCCC, but I soon learned I was not the only one. Together, the school comes together to help each other reach our goals.