Even though her dad has been a professor at SCC for nearly 25 years, Aileen Patton didn’t see SCC as the best choice for her. It wasn’t even on her “plate of options,” she said. Not at first, at least.
After graduating from a St. Louis private Catholic school, Aileen opted to attend a four-year Catholic, Jesuit university in Kansas City. “My brother went to a four-year university away from home,” she said. “So I thought I wanted the same college experience that he had.”
On move-in day, she had a bad feeling. She unpacked anyway and went to orientation, but it didn’t feel right. She packed and left the next day.
“I felt so far away from everything and everyone I knew,” Aileen said. “I didn’t feel welcome.”
She returned home on a Sunday, and her dad told her classes at SCC started Monday, if she was interested. None of Aileen’s high school friends had gone to SCC, so she was still unsure, but she was running out of time.
“I came to SCC on the first day of classes and I was able to register and everything,” she said. “It was kind of a weird schedule, but I got it done, and I even took my first class that same day.”
Aileen was unfamiliar with the St. Charles area, but after she moved in with her dad, it began to grow on her. “I felt comfortable here and I made a ton of new friends,” she said. “I didn’t expect that.”
Outside of her family Aileen didn’t receive a lot of support about attending a community college, but she said, “I’m going to have a degree before them.” Even going to school with her dad turned out to be “kind of cool,” and she is proud to be an SCC alumna.
“I loved the small, connected feeling I had at SCC,” Aileen said. “There was a sense of familiarity, and I felt at home.”
Her only regret is that she wishes she would have become more involved at SCC. “But I still felt like I belonged, even though I didn’t belong to anything specific.
She was reluctant to leave SCC, but after two and a half years she graduated SCC in December 2011, and she is currently volunteering at Washington University’s Children’s Hospital to gain experience working with children in unique situations. In the fall, Aileen will transfer to Maryville University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her goal: To earn her master’s degree and to work with kids, either as a child psychologist or a school counselor.
She is a little nervous about transferring to a new college, although she’s done it once before. “Hopefully my experience at Maryville will be as good as it was at SCC,” she said.
Last updated: Sept. 23, 2011