“You can get there from here.”
It is Howard Community College’s (HCC) tagline, but Patrick Rivers sees it as much more. He believes the education he is receiving at HCC will give him the means to pursue his passions and life goals, as well as build a promising and fulfilling career.
“As a high school student, I lacked direction and focus, and my priorities were not in order; I spent most of my time playing video games,” said Rivers. “As simple as that line is, it captured my attention and convinced me that I could get on track by coming to HCC.”
It was when Rivers was in the process of applying to HCC that he first learned about the school’s Silas Craft Collegians Program, boosting his confidence even further. Designed to provide academic support, resources, and encouragement, the program offers a wide range of resources to help students succeed – from tutoring and study groups to skill development and career exploration workshops, advising and mentorship, coaching, networking, service learning, and study abroad opportunities. It was precisely what Rivers needed.
“You don’t realize how much the tutoring center can help until you go,” said Rivers, who is working toward an associate degree in social sciences. “I have learned how to be a good student; from how to properly take notes and paraphrase the most important things during a class lecture, to how to do homework in a way that isn’t about just getting it done as quickly as possible. Instead its about reviewing class notes, creating flashcards, and doing some additional reading to really understand and process the information.”
The scholarship Rivers receives as a Silas Craft Collegian has also helped, by offsetting the costs associated with college and making it possible for him to pursue a once-in-a-lifetime study abroad learning opportunity. During summer 2020, he will be traveling with HCC faculty and several Silas Craft peers to Bermuda for a week of scientific exploration.
“Two years ago, I would have never believed that I would be here, earning A’s and B’s as a college student and getting ready to go on this amazing trip, where the focus is on learning,” said Rivers. “I mean it when I say that the Silas Craft Collegians Program and my experience at HCC has made me a better person.”
When he’s not on campus, Rivers works part-time for both Trellis and Whole Self Center, both agencies that provide assistance for individuals with autism and other developmental challenges. He has had the opportunity to form relationships with two young adults over the past 18 months, with focus on helping each build important life skills to optimize their happiness and quality of life. It’s an experience that has made a positive difference for the young adults, as well as Rivers himself.
“I have found my passion in working with these kids and it has confirmed that psychology is the right path for me,” said Rivers. “I am gaining practical experience, new skills, and competence. But I have also gained new perspective on the challenges that people with autism face, and what I can personally do to help them.”
Upon completion of his associate degree, Rivers intends to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree, and eventually a master’s degree. His ultimate goal is to work as an applied researcher in human development.
“I am absolutely getting there from here,” said Rivers, who continues to enjoy gaming, but now views electronics time as a hobby rather than a priority in his life. “The choice I made to go to HCC and be part of the Silas Craft Collegians Program has taught me how to be resilient, persevere, and manage all of the challenges that come my way, both in and out of school. Coming here was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.