Student finds passion for learning

By Chloe Wilhelm - Chloe's corner

When I first enrolled at Highline, I did not expect it to completely change my life.

Growing up, I always knew that I was going to go to college. My parents have always encouraged me to get a college education, and I was excited to pursue one.

As a first-generation student, my parents wanted me to get an education because they wanted me to have the opportunities they didn't. I knew that getting an education would open doors for me.

However, my dream of going to college ended up being more complicated than I originally thought.

College was completely new territory for me and my family. As I got older, I quickly realized that we wouldn't be able to afford it. I was lost, and I started to think that I wouldn't have the opportunity to get a college education.

Starting college early at Highline through the Running Start program gave me that opportunity.

Not only was going to college a reality – attending Highline also reinvigorated my love for learning.

When I first started high school, I was motivated to do well in my classes and was excited to learn. I thought that high school would be a great environment for me to be in. 

However, my expectations were different from reality. 

In high school, learning didn't seem to be a priority for most students. Instead, my peers were focused on their social groups, popularity, and overall social standing. 

I was not interested in this, and as a result, I lost interest in school and my grades suffered. I lost the desire to be in school at all.

All of this changed when I started taking classes here.

When I got to Highline, I was surprised at how many opportunities were presented to me. 

I was surrounded by people who cared about my education and wanted me to succeed, and I was able to be a part of a wonderful and accepting academic community where I was able to receive a rewarding education.

Because of my experiences here, I am now more motivated than ever to accomplish my goals. 

I have had the opportunity to be involved in Student Government, where I was able to advocate for community colleges. I have participated in honor society, where I had the chance to organize campus events. 

I have also been able to become the News Editor for the Thunderword newspaper, which led me to discover my passion for journalism. 

In many ways, I am a typical Highline student: I will be the first in my family to get a bachelor's degree, and being a student here has allowed me to pursue that goal, when it would have been otherwise impossible. 

However, even though I am a typical Highline student in many ways, Highline is a place where it is OK to not be like everyone else.

I know that I am not the only one whose life has not only been changed by my experiences here, but by the people I've met. 

Highline is one of the most diverse colleges, and it shows in our culture and how we are able to constantly learn from one another. I have had the privilege of meeting people from around the globe, and I have been able to learn so much from them.

I know for a fact that because of Highline, we have all met at least one person who has changed our lives for the better. 

We are surrounded by staff who have encouraged us, classmates who have supported us, and faculty who have inspired us. And with that came opportunities that we never thought were possible.

At 18 years old, I am now receiving my associate's degree and graduating with honors – but my higher education journey is only beginning. 

I will be transferring to Pacific Lutheran University, where I will major in economics and pursue a career in journalism. I am now able to pursue my goals and work toward a meaningful career, and that would have been impossible without Highline.

I know I am not the only one who has this story. Highline has changed the lives of so many people, and we will now be able to pursue our goals in life and to help others as we have been helped here. We as a community have come so far, and we will be able to accomplish so much. 

Highline has completely changed my life – it has changed all of our lives – and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

Chloe Wilhelm is the news editor of the Thunderword.

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