Whitney Lenzen — J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Teaching is a career that always stared at me dead in the face, yet I opted to look in the other direction. The first time I even thought about the idea of teaching was during my senior year of high school in 2004. My English teacher helped me learn to think in a completely different manner. He used alternative methods of teaching and honestly made learning fun. After that I could only dream of how gratifying it would be to impact young lives in such an enormous, yet subtle, way.
Before I achieve my career goals I need to finish school. I currently attend J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Collegein Richmond, Virginia and I am working towards obtaining my associate’s degree. After I obtain my associate’s degree I would like to transfer to the University of Richmond’s Adult Program of Continuing Studies, where I would major in psychology with a concentration in elementary education and obtain my teaching license. Once I have my bachelor’s degree and find a steady job and/or career, I hope that I will have the opportunity to continue with my education until I earn my master’s degree, and possibly even my doctorate.
In addition to taking classes at J. Sarg, I have had various opportunities to work in the Office of Student Accommodations per work-study as well as the Academic Support Center as an English, biology, and Spanish tutor. Also, I am an honorary member of Phi Theta Kappa, which is an academic fraternity for two-year colleges, and I have served as the Leader of the Fellowship Committee for the Alpha Iota Beta Chapter, as well as the Public Relations Secretary for the Alpha Gamma Omicron Chapter. Actively participating in this organization provides numerous opportunities for community service, leadership, and being able to surround myself with individuals with similar academic and life goals.
With that said, the most important aspect of my life is taking care of my son, who is almost three-years old, as well as spending time with my husband and other members of my family. In order to provide for my son with not only his basic needs, but also other opportunities in life, I must continue to go to school and get my degree(s). As of this moment my husband and I are both in school and have had work-study positions. We live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to pay our bills each month. Whenever we have “extra” money, we use it to buy clothing, diapers, and other items for our son. Our current financial situation is what drives me to get the best grades I can, work as much as possible, and help others when they are in need of assistance. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of our current financial situation, I choose to focus on the positive aspects that obtaining my degree(s) will bring to our family life. With that said, I must rely on the Federal Pell Grant, Commonwealth Grant, Work-Study, and any other scholarships or grants I am able to secure, in order to put the most effort towards my academics rather than working at a minimum-wage job that does not have opportunities for career or personal advancement.
After meeting with many of Virginia’s Delegates, such as R. Lee Ware, Jr., John Cox, and Joseph Morrissey; along with my fellow students and faculty in the VCCS, I finally feel as if my voice is being heard and my actions have purpose. Realizing that one’s actions have purpose is a sentiment that cannot be taught nor given; but will come in each individuals’ own time. To conclude my story, I would like to thank the entire faculty and students incorporated with the VCCS; J. Sarg; the faculty and staff that work in the Capitol Building for Virginia; and all of the political representatives who represent the people and Commonwealth of Virginia at large. In conclusion, Governor Bob McDonnell and the House of Delegates’ 2015 Budget for Virginia’s Community Colleges will impact me, my family, my future, and Virginians in insurmountable ways. I am extremely honored to not only be a student in the Virginia Community College System, particularly with regards to J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College; but I am also proud to be a resident in the historical , honorable Commonwealth of Virginia.