While many people talk about returning to Blue Ridge Community College to earn their High School Equivalency Diploma, the challenges of school as an adult, and the thought that there is always more time, stops most people. Cameron Devlin is not most people.
Devlin, a 20 year old Western North Carolina native, found himself in 10th grade, distracted and not focusing seriously on his homeschooling. Encouraged by his older brother, Devlin decided to listen to the voice inside telling him that he needed to do something with his life, move forward, and stop wasting time. With family support, Devlin looked into local options for completing his high school education and found the Adult Education program at Blue Ridge to be a good fit.
Knowing that reading and writing would be his biggest obstacles, Devlin did not hesitate and dove into studying, working in the College & Career Readiness (CCR) lab every opportunity he had. Devlin spent about a year working in the CCR lab studying reading, writing, math, social studies, and science, an experience he remembers positively. “Ms. Bennet was always very positive and available whenever you needed any extra help,” Devlin said, “and Ms. Casey was extremely knowledgeable. You could ask her about pretty much anything in history and she always knew it.”
In addition to working closely with his instructors, Devlin found value and enjoyment in his fellow students. Students in the program come from varied backgrounds and ages. Some students are as young as 16, and others are in their 60s. The class dynamic as a result is one of learning respect, mentorship, and sharing experiences. Many older students encouraged Devlin to keep persevering and not be back in the same spot in 5-10 years later, words of advice that he certainly heeded.
After earning his High School Equivalency Diploma, Devlin applied and began classes at Blue Ridge. Transitioning from the Adult Education program to curriculum classes was a smooth process. “I felt far more prepared to transition,” Devlin reflected; “it definitely took a lot of stress off me knowing I was able to do it because I had done [studying in Adult Ed.]. It definitely helped.”
Devlin is attending Blue Ridge and working towards his Associates degree. While Devlin is still narrowing down his future career plans, he knows that it will be something hands-on and with some autonomy in day to day work.
Devlin’s commitment and positivity make him a welcome addition to each class. As a second year student, Devlin understands the challenges and obstacles many students face in finishing high school and pursuing college or career training. Devlin states, “In general, I am proud of myself for going on to college and getting a degree. For staying focused and not getting distracted.”
Offering advice to those who may be thinking about working towards a High School Equivalency Diploma or attending college, Devlin says he would always recommend and encourage others on that path. “In the long run it’s definitely worth it,” Devlin reflected, “It just requires a little bit of time in the long run. There may be times where you get a little overwhelmed, but push through and it will definitely be worth it.”
Devlin’s commitment and dedication are seeing him through this tough pandemic school year. This semester he is taking math and English classes which are both offered online or on campus. The added layer of technology has not dampened Devlin’s enthusiasm or engagement. Devlin has taken advantage of on campus resources and instruction which have helped him to remain focused. Devlin looks forward to continuing his studies at Blue Ridge and developing his long term goals.
Students who are interested in attending Blue Ridge for community college courses, or continuing education classes should visit www.blueridge.edu for more information or to apply. Call 883-2520 to meet with a counselor. Registration for Summer and Fall 2021 courses starts March 15th. For Adult Education program information visit www.blueridge.edu/ael or call 694-1745.