By Ru Fletcher
Transferring to a four-year institution from a community college seems daunting. It feels like you never stop playing catch up, but it’s easier with programs like C-STEP. This program guarantees acceptance to UNC-Chapel Hill and also offers mentorship, advising, a support system, and familiarity with the campus. In short, it gives you a major head start.
This includes trips designed to orient you with the UNC-Chapel Hill Campus, one of which is the annual spring overnight trip. Students go up to Chapel Hill and spend one or two days doing everything a normal student would. You are given the opportunity to shadow a “C-stepper” who has already “stepped” and is in a similar major as your intended major. The possibilities are endless, but you always come home with new motivation and knowledge of how to be prepared for university.
Our overnight trip kicked off on March 4 with dinner at Armadillo’s with Craven C-STEP students, including students who have already gone to UNC. This is a tradition that is very special to me. We always have our dinners together and we always invite past cohorts to join us. Those of us at Craven always have a slew of questions for those who have already stepped. They tell us every tip and trick they can think of for us to be successful at Chapel Hill. The best way I can describe it is like family dinner. We all sit around and talk about all kinds of things. People you’ve never met before treat you with the same care as they would a younger sibling. Former C-steppers want to see those of us who haven’t gone up yet succeed in every way.
The next morning, I headed off to find Jackson Hall with another girl in the next cohort. She met up with a C-stepper in her degree program to shadow her, and I met with one of the C-STEP advisors at UNC to talk about some concerns I had about going to UNC this fall. He told me about new resources that I didn’t know about, and he set up a meeting with a C-stepper at the end of his premed who could talk to me about what UNC would be like. With this appointment set up, I went to my favorite study nook in Davidson Library and did some homework.
As someone going into their junior year on the premed track, I was so nervous that I was behind. Talking to another student who is at the end of their premed and on track to apply to medical school gave me confidence in my choice in major, what classes I had taken, and what opportunities I am pursuing. Having an ally on the inside laid my anxieties about preparedness to rest. I walked away knowing that I was at a good place for going up to UNC and with a plan for when I get there.
After this, I looked at dorms, scouted out grocery stores, went thrift shopping and got a winter coat, familiarized myself with the bus system, found the buildings most of my classes would be in, and went to a class with a C-stepper in the same intended major as me. During all of this, I was able to spend time with fellow Craven C-steppers and those who had already gone to UNC. I cannot stress this enough: C-STEP is a family, a network, and a support system.
Jumping into a four-year university from a community college is difficult. Finding your way takes a while, and finding your group takes longer. With C-STEP, you are never isolated. When I go up to UNC-Chapel Hill this fall, I will be prepared to take on a major in Exercise and Sport Science with a double minor in Medical Literature and Culture, and Medical Anthropology on the premed track. C-STEP has prepared me in so many ways for my future. I feel confident about going to UNC-Chapel Hill. I know my way around, and I know I have a support system and a family waiting for me when I get there.
There is still time to become a part of the Craven CC C-STEP family. Applications are due April 1, 2019. If you are interested in transferring to a four-year university and pursuing your education beyond Craven CC, then why not start now? If you have ever thought about going to UNC-Chapel Hill, then why not have certainty that you are accepted? Why leave a door unopened when it would give you countless opportunities? Just think about it and ask yourself, “Why not?”
C. Ruth Fletcher is a student at Craven Community College finishing up her Associate in Science. When she graduates in spring, she hopes to transfer to a four-year university and continue her pursuit of premed. While at Craven CC, she has been a part of the SGA for two consecutive terms, SEAS, C-STEP, and the Honors Program. She is always busy, but loves all the experiences she’s been given here at Craven CC.