Patrick Shaffer is taking full advantage of his time at Kennedy-King College – after all, as a career changer and non-traditional student, he is more focused and determined than ever before.

When Patrick graduated from Tabernacle Christian High School in 1993, he headed straight to college. After a semester, however, it was clear that it wasn’t a good fit and he didn’t feel supported. When he left, he went on to have a successful career in accounts and procurement in the non-profit and for-profit sectors, but about three years ago he decided to go back to school.

“I felt like I owed it to myself, like I had some unfinished business. I’ve always loved learning, so it was time to prove to myself that I could do it,” Patrick explained.

He chose Kennedy-King College because it was close to his Bronzeville home and it was affordable for a student who was paying out of pocket. Being a full-time student – often taking a whopping 17 credit hours per semester – who was also working full-time made him jump into his studies and take advantage of the resources available. He utilized the Tutoring Center for a particularly difficult astronomy class, as well as the Transfer Center as he applied to four-year colleges. His impressive grades earned him a spot in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

He also appreciated the advice and direction he got from his professors.

“The faculty have been so supportive and nurturing. I had an idea about where I wanted to go, but didn’t know the path to get there. I learned so much in class, but the conversations out of the classroom really helped shape my trajectory,” Patrick said.

Now Patrick is on his way to becoming a college professor himself, and is interested in continuing his studies in philosophy and African American Studies. After earning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and PhD, he hopes to return to the classroom to help others learn and find their own paths – maybe even at City Colleges of Chicago.

As he graduates this May, Patrick admits he feels disappointed he won’t be able to participate in a graduation ceremony, but is excited to start his next chapter in the fall at UIC, Colombia University Chicago, or Northwestern University.

If you’re ready to explore transfer opportunities with City Colleges of Chicago, click here.

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