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July 12, 2017

Learn how to plug into campus life

Graham Murphy described himself as a “rebellious student” growing up. Even though he was identified as gifted, he scraped by with “D” grades. Until senior year, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to go to college.

“I always participated in class,” he explained. “But outside of class, I just didn’t do the work.”

When he came to Johnson County Community College, he was assigned a Student Pathways Success Advocate for his first semester. Ever the rebel, he decided he didn’t need the help. And maybe he didn’t, because on his own, he managed to get a 4.0 GPA.

Still, something was missing. At the start of his second semester, he approached Success Advocate Rebekah Read.

“I told her I didn’t reach out to the Pathways program at first because I didn’t think I needed help. But I explained to Rebekah that that was the only time I’d been a good student since the third grade. I wanted to keep a very good record,” he said. “So I asked if I could still join the program.”

Read said yes.

On-campus personal assistant

“I helped him be knowledgeable about the college. I tell students, ‘Think of me as your personal assistant. I may not know the answer to all your questions, but I will find out for you. Let me handle that stress,’” she said.

Murphy said Read opened up new options for his time at JCCC.

“I didn’t know half the resources that are available here,” he said. “She got me in touch with a Spanish tutor, she told me to check in with my counselor…and she told me about the Center for Sustainability because I’m interested in environmental activism.”

In fact, as part of an Honors contract, he plans to volunteer in Flint, Michigan, delivering water and noting how the water crisis has impacted residents.

What Pathways does

The Pathways program is in its early stages, but its goal is to help acclimate JCCC students to the complexities of the college environment and help JCCC students who might have a rockier start get their footing. Students who are assigned to an advocate have been chosen using certain parameters, but anyone can use some of the features of the program.

“Pathways to Success” is a helpful, not-for-credit class offered online through Desire2Learn (D2L), and all enrolled students have access to it. You have a helpful calendar, and you earn e-badges as you complete tasks related to JCCC and study skills.

“I really wish more students would take advantage of it,” Read said. “It really helps them make the most of their time at the College.” Read, a graduate of JCCC herself, wants to help more students like Murphy discover the potential of JCCC.

“Take advantage of all JCCC has to offer. Don’t just come to class and leave. These are your college years, and they’ll be gone before you know it. Enjoy it,” she said.

Looking forward to bigger things

Murphy said he’s looking forward to his next semester at JCCC, in part because he’s plugged into the campus now. “Since I got help with some of the basics, I now can move on to the bigger things,” he said.

For more information about the Pathways program, contact Pete Belk, Program Director for Admissions, at 913-469-8500 ext. 2335.

How to enroll in Pathways to Success:

  1. Log into MyJCCC using your username and password.
  2. Click the “Student” tab.
  3. Select “Desire2Learn” from the box marked “JCCC Links” on the left side.
  4. Locate the “Open Registration Form” box on the right side of the page.
  5. Select “Pathways to Success.”
  6. On the next screen, click “Register.”
  7. Remember, this class is free for enrolled students. Though it does not count for credit to graduation, it will help you with needed skills and info.