Atlantic Cape Welcomes All Students

Dr. Barbara Gaba, president, Atlantic Cape Community College

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As the year comes to a close, we can all agree that it has been a challenging year for us to endure. The holidays have always been a special time for my family and me.  

This year, the holidays will be celebrated a little differently, perhaps even virtually. Even if we cannot be with each other in person for the sake of the people we love, it is still a time to celebrate, cherish our loved ones, and reflect on our blessings. 

We have adapted to a temporary way of living so far by wearing a face mask, social distancing, and in many cases, just staying home. While there have been many challenges in the last nine months due to Covid, we can hold on a little longer. How do we prepare for the most joyous time of year, and how do we keep moving forward? 

We do it with gratitude, grace, and hope. We express gratitude for the family and friends in our lives. We look forward to the upcoming year and what can be.  

The attitude of gratitude can be a difficult mindset for us, especially given this year, but I encourage you to embrace it because with gratitude and hope, we can find the pathway to the future. 

I think we could all use a healthy dose of grace in our lives right now. We just celebrated Thanksgiving, a time that we pause to give thanks and reflect on our blessings no matter how large or small. Even though this year has been challenging, there are still many things to be thankful for; and when you recognize that, you have hope. 

Inside each of us is a light of hope. Hope is a powerful thing. It is motivating and inspiring. It is what helps us endure hardships in life and can also guide us to new endeavors or new ways of thinking. Hope connects us to the future. 

I know that this year has changed everyone's plans. Maybe your career was cut short due to an unexpected layoff. Perhaps you had to leave the life you were living to take care of sick family members. Maybe the uncertainty of the future has you stuck trying to determine what to do next. All of that is understandable. 

When I meet with students or when they write to me about their experiences, I see their hope for the future. Many of our students are navigating online learning, some for the first time, while juggling multiple responsibilities.  

They all have a common goal of either finding a new career, changing careers, or returning to the workforce. Atlantic Cape students give me hope and inspiration for today and the many tomorrows ahead. 

I firmly believe that education is a lifelong endeavor and a hope for a better future. 

It isn't easy to imagine that we have managed this long with Covid in our lives, but, in its wake, I hope that each of you finds your light and your inspiration. Enjoy the holiday season and be safe. 

ED. NOTE: The author is the president of Atlantic Cape Community College. 

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