The Power of the Underdog

Coleen_Gabhartby Coleen Gabhart
Student, Lafayette campus

“I’m a single mom. I’m trying to raise my son while at the same time, working to pay my bills. Sometimes my phone gets shut off. Sometimes I want to just give up.”

This is a fairly common story in our city of Lafayette, but it’s what this woman says next that sets her apart from many.

“I’m an Ivy Tech student, trying to get my associates degree so that I can give my son and I a future with opportunities.”

It’s stories like this one that make me proud to be an Ivy Tech student. When I was trying to decide where to go to college, I was looking at things like rankings, athletic opportunities, and most importantly, scholarships. No one ever told me that I would learn so much more from being in close quarters with people who were struggling, who found it to be a challenge to go to college for social or economic reasons, people who had fought the odds and had won.

Ivy Tech has a lot of other benefits too, like small class sizes and professors that know each student by name, lower costs and a smaller campus. But it’s the atmosphere of challenge that inspires me each day to keep going. My peers at large, four year institutions loudly complain about their problems, which could be described as “first world problems,” like the fact that they have to wait for the bus or they don’t like the food at the cafeteria, or the best one, they are so tired from partying and they still have to go to class. Compare this to the unspoken struggles of Ivy Tech students, who have to consider whether they can afford to stay enrolled and feed their family at the same time, who will care for their children while they’re attending classes and how they will get transportation to and from campus.

While these major, real life problems cause some Ivy Tech students to drop out, those who remain have the opportunity to become highly successful because of the “underdog” atmosphere. The power of the underdog was described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “David and Goliath.”

In an interview in 2014 with Anderson Cooper, he says “When you’re an underdog you’re forced to try things you never would have attempted.” Because going to college isn’t a given for Ivy Tech students, they become powerful overcomers. Many pride themselves on getting good grades, shooting for an A instead of a C. Some Ivy Tech students have founded their own businesses, started non-profits, and have made a difference in their community.

In honor of Community College Month, I’d like to celebrate these overcomers that we call Ivy Tech students. When I decided to attend Ivy Tech first instead of going straight to a university, I wasn’t sure I was making the right choice, but after just nearly two semesters, I am confident in my choice because I love being surrounded by fellow students who fight for what they want and when they are told no, or get knocked down by life, they get back up again every time.

Fitting in College for Non-Traditional Students

by Raven Smith
Academic Skills Advancement, East Chicago

Being a non-traditional student is not easy. At times, students may feel as though they do not belong in college because they lack resources and emotional support. Growing up with parents in which college wasn’t a priority; college was a personal choice. With that being said, there were times when my 18 year old, first generational college self was fighting to be understood within my inner circle.

Even my associates who were also in college did not understand MY personal struggle. They took 15 credit hours a semester, did not HAVE to work while having a full course load, and also omitted remedial courses. Their parents attended college, which didn’t make them BETTER parents, but at least they had the understanding of what midterms and finals were.

This blog isn’t about me! It is about the person reading it now. Being a non-traditional college student sucks. There is no glamorizing it. Daycare. Double night shifts. Perhaps, a marriage or a custody battle that can be detrimental to your academic career. There isn’t much to say that will allow you to feel better at the moment. But I can tell you a few things.

I CAN tell you to hold on. I CAN assure you that as you are walking across the stage; people WILL NOT remind you that you are OVER 22.  No one is going to care if you returned to college AFTER raising your own son or daughter.

What they will see is your smiling face and slightly wrinkled gown that you just popped out of the bag. Regardless if they know you, might I add; the audience WILL CLAP when your name is called. MORAL OF THE STORY: Keep Your Eye on the Prize. You belong.

Welcome to the Ivy Tech Blog!

Welcome to the Ivy Tech blog! This is your place to connect with Ivy Tech students, faculty and staff to read and share original content. So whether you are looking for ways to get published or have something you would like to share that will help your fellow students, colleagues, etc., we want to feature it.

You can submit original content here, or by using the link to the right of the screen.

This is new for Ivy Tech and we hope you go on this adventure with us! Over time the blog may evolve, but it won’t be possible without your help. Check back weekly for new content and we encourage you to share your own stories too. From your successes to advice, this is the place to be. Welcome!

How to Build a Resume

by Rachel Pope
Marketing Intern

Like many young adults starting off, building my resume was something that intimidated me. What font should I use? What needs to be on my resume? How many references do I need? I was completely unsure! Through a little research, I learned how to best build my resume. I then decided to share some of my knowledge on building resumes to help other students who were in the same position as me. In just a few steps, I am going to teach you how to build an awesome resume! Continue reading

Getting a Head Start on your Education Paves the Way

by Kelsey Batten
Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications

I grew up in Greenville, Ohio, home of Annie Oakley, Whirlpool and the famous Maid-Rite sandwich.  I was always a motivated person and driven to find the perfect job.  When I was a junior in high school I enrolled for classes at Edison State Community College through a program called post-secondary education.  Much like Ivy Tech Community College’s dual credit program, I earned college and high school credits at the same time, while not paying a penny out of pocket on tuition and fees. Continue reading

Why I Believe Everyone Should Take a Philosophy Class in College

by Rachel Pope
Marketing Work Study

Last semester, I took a philosophy class. Long story short, I was told it would be a “blow-off” class and I wouldn’t learn much from completing it. After hearing countless criticism about the study of philosophy, I felt defeated and made me dread the upcoming semester completely. However, a few weeks in I realized what a positive effect that this “blow-off” class was going to be on me and my future. Continue reading