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.
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