Kyle Kirian knew he wanted to attend Craven Community College (Craven CC) since he took a tour of the campus during a middle school field trip. Now, at 19 years old, he just finished up his freshman year and credits that field trip for initially piquing his interest.
“I was in a STEM class and we took a field trip here,” he recounted. “We went inside the Bosch building, and I saw all the machines and stuff and thought it was cool.”
When Kirian first stepped onto the college campus as a student last fall, it was like entering a whole new world. Having just come from high school, he was impressed by the size and beauty of the campus and immediately decided to get involved.
His sister, who graduated last year, had been in the Craven CC Hurst Student Ambassador program. Student ambassadors act as official college representatives for on- and off-campus community events and assist with registration, recruiting, new student orientation, student events and give campus tours to prospective students. Seeing how much his sister enjoyed her time as an ambassador, Kirian decided to follow suit.
As an ambassador, he recently helped lead a campus tour, bringing his Craven CC experience full circle. He believes his role as an ambassador has enhanced his college experience and helped make his transition from high school an easier one.
“You meet a lot of new people,” said Kirian. “And then, if I have any question about the college ever, I’m already surrounded by a bunch of people who know everything. I am just literally a question away from any answer I needed.”
He is currently working toward earning an Associate in Science degree and plans to graduate this fall and transfer into an engineering program as a junior at ECU next spring. While Kirian hasn’t decided on a specific career just yet, he does know that he aspires to go into the mechanical engineering field.
“I’m going for mechanical engineering mainly because it looks like a diverse field I can have a lot of different options with because I’m not totally sure what I want to do yet,” he said.
He said all of his instructors have been very helpful and have done a great job at helping him prepare for his future. He also brushed aside the common stigma associated with community colleges and the belief that attending one is inferior to attending a university.
“I definitely don’t think I’m going to be less prepared by coming to Craven,” he said. “I love the flexibility of the schedule—how you’re not always in class all day, how you can kind of pick your schedule a little bit. It’s nice.”
The newfound freedom and independence that new college students obtain can be a nice change of pace, but it can also be difficult for some to maintain the discipline needed to be successful in their classes. Kirian acknowledged that it can be tough to get motivated when it comes to studying and recommended that all new students adopt a studying regimen that works for them as soon as possible.
“Going into Craven, I wish someone had told me how important it is to study with other people,” he admitted. “In college, you have to study a lot more than high school, and studying by yourself is really hard. Definitely talk with your classmates and set up some study times if you can.”
The college also has an Academic Support Center (ASC) on the New Bern and Havelock campuses. It is comprised of Craven CC students and staff who provide free academic assistance to curriculum students enrolled in courses at all levels. They offer one-on-one tutoring sessions, study groups, writing and research assistance, workshops and placement test preparation, as well as soft skills development including organization, communication, time management, academic resourcefulness, study skills and test taking.
If students are unable to be on campus or prefer online learning, the ASC can provide access to an online tutoring platform that offers a wide array of subject areas and even assists with resume and cover letter writing. This is especially beneficial now, while most students are taking online classes during the college’s closure.
Craven CC is still registering students for the Late Start summer semester through June 12 with classes beginning June 15. Fall registration is also underway through Aug. 18.
Students can email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact an advisor and set up a virtual appointment or phone call. Current students can go online and use WebAdvisor to view the current class listing and register quickly and easily. For more information, visit cravencc.edu/admissions/getready. For more information on ASC services, visit cravencc.edu/asc.
This article was originally published in the New Bern Sun Journal on May 27, 2020.