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Christina always knew what career she planned to pursue. “I have wanted to be a preschool or kindergarten teacher since I was a child, so there was no problem deciding what I wanted to study once I started college.”
“If I had a choice to move on to another school or complete my education at HCC, I would finish at HCC. It’s been a fun ride at Harford. Harford has contributed to my success the past four years and I couldn’t be more grateful,” said Christina Oehlsen.
Harford has been a great choice for Christina. She decided to pursue higher education at HCC because she lived less than 15 minutes away and could obtain an associate degree without moving away from home. In addition, it was much less expensive than a four-year institution. “I heard many great things about Harford before starting back in the fall of 2012, including sports teams, clubs, professors, resources, the teaching program, and just the overall positive vibe the College has.”
Christina always knew what career she planned to pursue. “I have wanted to be a preschool or kindergarten teacher since I was a child, so there was no problem deciding what I wanted to study once I started college.” Christina majored in Early Childhood/Special Education, earning an Associate of Arts in Teaching degree in May 2016.
“Through HCC, I was able to complete a couple of field placements that gave me guidance and practice with teaching. The first was a kindergarten class at Red Pump Elementary during my first semester, where I was placed with a great mentor teacher who taught me most of what I know today. I got really close with the students and developed a great relationship with my mentor teacher. I also was able to teach an abundant amount of lessons and have the real feel of what it is like to be a teacher.” Last spring, she completed a special education field placement at Harford Tech.
Even though she struggled with math classes, Christina was determined to succeed. “At Harford, I was most surprised with how much I enjoyed going to school every day. Even when I was going to classes that were hard for me, the professors made it enjoyable. I had Kathryn Holmes for geometry; she was the funniest teacher I have ever met. She knew how hard the class was for me at times, and she always helped me out and gave me the confidence to know that I could do it, and I could! She always had the class laughing, and she really showed how much she loves to teach. I only hope that I can impact my students that much one day.”
Because classes didn’t always come as easy for her as they did for others, there were days when she felt she would never obtain her degree. “Along the way, there were times when my stress would get the best of me. I would talk to my parents, sisters, and boyfriend about how worried I was that I wouldn’t be able to pass, but they would always pick me back up and give me the confidence that I needed. I also had a few teachers who knew my situation and would push me to do my best and help me whenever I needed extra guidance, even if that meant them coming to campus on a day they didn’t teach just to meet with me before class. Walking in the doors at commencement and seeing the teachers of the courses that I struggled with cheering me on was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. It was a long road, but that moment made everything worth it,” she said.
She was a member of the Future Educators of America (FEA) all four years. Through her involvement with the organization, she attended her first Maryland State Teachers Conference and was elected as the club’s liaison. This position required her to attend all Student Government Association (SGA) meetings and report what occurred to her fellow FEA members. Through this experience, she became an active member of SGA.
“I would definitely recommend Harford to others. Whether they are a foreign exchange student, an out-of-state student, or someone from five minutes down the road, I think everyone can benefit from Harford in some way. There are plenty of sports teams to choose from, many clubs that anyone can be a part of, and a variety of majors to choose from. At Harford, the professors know you on a first name basis, and it is a much different environment from a university. I was scared to start college. I remember seeing in movies how scary it seemed to be on this huge campus, not knowing anybody and having fears of getting lost, not having enough money for food or classes or even rooming with someone you don’t get along with. At Harford, classes are a lot more affordable, the campus is easy to navigate, and you don’t have to worry about housing.” Christina also enjoyed the convenience of having a fitness center on campus, spending time at the Student Center with her friends, and enjoying the beautiful grounds.
“Harford Community College has been a wonderful school to attend the past four years. I don’t feel that I would’ve had as great an experience if I started right away at another school, even Towson, and I am very glad to have had the professors I had.”
Christina plans to transfer this fall to Towson University in Northeastern Maryland, located on the HCC campus. She will be continuing her studies in Early Childhood Education/Special Education.
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