By Keegan Ried:
College students face many obstacles that might lead them to consider dropping out of school, but Amarillo College offers many services to help keep those individuals enrolled. One reason students tend to drop out is because they haven’t decided what major or career goals they want to accomplish.
Teresa Dumas, an AC graduate and owner of GlamWood Designs, started taking classes immediately after graduating high school and dropped her courses after her first month at AC. “It is too much to expect an 18-year-old child to choose their future as soon as they graduate high school,” Dumas said.
According to Emily Bowmer, a developmental education adviser, AC has great resources available to students who are unsure of their major.
“Career and employment services at AC is very well equipped to help students discover where their strengths and passions lie,” Bowmer said.
Selecting a major is just one hurdle in the process of obtaining a degree. Another burden some students face is the reality that they must attend classes while also working full-time jobs.
Olga Rodriguez, a paralegal professional and AC graduate, dealt with the struggle of the work-study balancing act firsthand. Rodriguez said she was working 50 hours per week while attempting to take on a full load of classes. “I was discouraged,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like no one cared.”
The need for a full-time job while attending school is one area Bowmer said AC could improve. “Many students are on their own to pay for living expenses while they go to school. AC seems to make a push for students to finish without looking at the lives our students lead,” Bowmer said.
With so many difficulties, many students are left trying to decide whether dropping out is a viable option. Bowmer and Dumas agreed that the first step in making this decision is to reach out and ask for help. “It took me years to know that asking for help is not a weakness,” Dumas said.
Bowmer said that each student’s situation is as unique as the person asking for help. “We, as a college, need to respect those needs, but we also need to help the student plan their way back.”
Students can find information on some of the support services AC has to offer by visiting https://www.actx.edu/student-resources. AskAC at 806-371-5000 can also provide information and can connect students with the appropriate resources.