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SCC Student Recommends Continued Learning No Matter How Old or How Busy

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If you think it is impossible to work full time, have a family, and go back to school simultaneously, you can look to SCC Welding student Kevin Forrester who has proved not only that it is indeed possible, but that it is possible to excel while doing it as long as one is patient and figures out a plan for making it all happen.

Kevin Forrester earned his GED (General Education Diploma) through Surry Community College in 2011 when he was 21 years old. Just a few years later, he went to work for Walmart where he's been employed full time for the last 10 years and trained over 50 associates. Now at the age of 35, he's married with two children, still working full time at Walmart in their online pickup and delivery department, and back at Surry Community College in the Welding program. He is a very busy man.

Forrester says, "I started welding in Fall 2021, and my projected completion date to finish is May 2026. I am keeping my course load light so I can focus 110 percent on my studies."

He has found that keeping his course load lighter makes it more manageable for him to be successful, make good grades, and work at his job. He also serves as this year’s president of the SCC Welding Club, where he has been instrumental in getting it back up and going after a hiatus brought about by the pandemic.

Forrester says he was talking to a friend about learning a trade when he learned about SCC's Welding program. His first class was all about symbols and specifications, and although he had been told that particular class might be "boring," he says he fell in love with it.

"My instructor helped me feel enthused about it. After that class, I took a fabrication course where I made a pair of dice and a cylinder with a bottom in it that could hold water. Now, I have other students coming to me for assistance sometimes. I love helping other people. It makes me feel good, and it makes me want to learn even more and stay ahead on my labs and assignments, so I can continue to help them."

As for others who might be considering learning a new trade or going back to school but might think they're too busy or too old, Forrester has much advice.

"First of all," he says, "if you're in a situation like me where you have a busy schedule, don't give up. Of course it's going to be challenging, but just step back, breathe, and keep going. Don't be afraid to ask questions or collaborate with others. That's how we learn."

Forrester also encourages prospective students to not be afraid to take lighter course loads and take a longer time to finish their program of interest, pointing out that a slower pace will prevent feeling overwhelmed.

"I never thought I'd be at this level of education at this point in my life. It's the age when most people are thinking about their 401Ks and retirement, but I know that this Welding Program will set me up for success. Research what you'd like to learn or go to college for, and make sure it's something that will have a positive impact on your life. What you do in college will reflect on you later in life."

If you'd like to learn more about what SCC has to offer, no matter your age or how busy you are, contact SCC Student Services, at (336) 386-3264 or studentservices@surry.edu. You may also visit surry.edu for more information about all programs offered.

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