Computer Science Major Credits MCC for Helping to Find Path

At Middlesex Community College, Sam Holmes is preparing for his future. His three favorite parts about his experience at Middlesex so far have been networking with his classmates, tapping into the resources the college offers, and pursuing his passion. MCC is setting him up for success.

A Computer Science major expecting to graduate in January 2022, Holmes is from Billerica and chose MCC because it is affordable and close to home. After graduating from Middlesex, he plans to transfer to a four-year school to become a Computer Systems Engineer.

Courses such as his Introduction to Programming course with MCC Professor Sanaz Rahimi and Trigonometry for Engineering and Science with Lengchivon Kou have helped him understand how much he enjoys his major and future career.

Holmes is grateful for all of the hard work and dedication he has received from his other professors, including Linda Miller, Lance Solimini, Mike Williamson, Gordon Curry, Aliza Miller and Sylvia Yeung.

As the pandemic caused Middlesex to transition most courses and student services to online formats since the Spring 2020 semester, Holmes has been adjusting to online learning. A self-described “computer geek,” he finds MCC’s online classes to be user friendly.

“My experience with online courses has been going pretty smoothly,” he said. “The ability to plan out my courses using the syllabus and course schedule and knowing when my assignments and projects are all due really help me with planning all of this out.”

Holmes is also taking a few of MCC’s Mini-mester courses, which allows him to complete the same high-quality content, number of credits and instructional hours as a 15-week course in just eight weeks. While there is a lot of work to balance, Holmes has figured out how to best manage his schedule and believes the accelerated classes are useful.

He also finds many of his classes to be relevant to the times of the pandemic and believes people should try to continue their education now. In classes like Macroeconomics, he is learning about the effects of a recession on an economy; in English Composition, he is writing how to argue about social issues like wearing masks; and in his Public Speaking course, he is being taught how to think critically about topics like multicultural and global literacy.

“People should still be planning on pursuing their dreams whether it is to be educated or to get a job,” he said. “MCC helps us learn and develop as students, as people, as human beings.”

Having started at MCC in the Spring 2020 semester, Holmes is just beginning to get more involved on campus. As an MCC Student Greeter, he welcomes people to campus and puts them in the right direction – either to the library, bookstore or someone in student services – to make the experience as smooth as possible for those who need to come to MCC in-person. In his role, he has also had the chance to meet MCC employees who offer him academic and career advice.

As he is motivated by his career path, Holmes has sought out both his Academic Advisor Maria Gonzalez and his Computer Science Advisor Professor Rahimi to help him with his transfer options. Holmes also takes advantage of the Office of Career Development and works with Cathy Cosgrove, MCC’s Coordinator of Career Planning & Placement, to build a resume and use online resources to find internships and jobs.

In both his formal advising sessions and informal conversations with other MCC employees as a Student Greeter, Holmes has learned a lot and is appreciative of the support.

“This speaks volumes about the establishment as a whole,” he said. “No matter which staff or faculty member you turn to, they either always know exactly how to help you, or they know exactly who can help you. I have learned that the most important thing about making it through college is to ask for help, and MCC has what seems like a limitless supply of helpful people.”

To stay busy and relevant in his field, Holmes wants to find an internship or job, in addition to possibly tutoring in math or computer science. Holmes is also planning to start up a virtual computer science club and is looking for anyone else who might be interested.

“The focus of the club would be to form a social construct where we can help each other educationally, vocationally and even emotionally,” he said. “Our programs and our jobs are going to take a lot of mental strain and I think that aside from the support we can give each other regarding the actual subject matter, it would also be good to have people that we can totally relate to and talk about things with.”

Holmes is happy he chose Middlesex to start his college career and for the ways in which the college is setting him up for success in his future, both for a four-year school and in a career.

“I love the people that I have met so far,” he said. “I love feeling like I am learning again. I love knowing that I am overcoming personal obstacles and every day it feels more and more like nothing is impossible. I owe it to this school for helping me find my way again.”

MCC’s Mini-mester II – an accelerated, eight-week session ­­– starts on November 2. To register, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434.

Discover your path at Middlesex Community College. As one of the largest, most comprehensive community colleges in Massachusetts, MCC has been a proven leader in online education for more than 20 years. We educate, engage and empower a diverse community of learners, offering more than 80 degree and certificate programs – plus hundreds of noncredit courses. Middlesex Community College: Student success starts here!

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