Am I a loser?

Lucas Koprowski, Editor-in-Chief

Why am I still here? I promised myself the first week of my freshman year I wouldn’t be one of those losers who sticks around for a third year at a community college, yet here I am. Whether it’s because I realized it’s OK to take another year to find out what you truly want to do, or it’s because I’ve accepted becoming a loser, I’ve found College of DuPage to be a dysfunctional home I’m not ready to part with yet.

Over my past two years here at COD, I’ve experienced many things that I otherwise wouldn’t have at a four-year institution. I took 3 hours of public transportation daily to get to and from COD for the first three months of my first semester when it would have only taken 45 minutes to an hour to do the same trip by car. I also helped create a secular club here on campus, but left at the end of the semester due to visionary differences. Most importantly however, I was forced to overcome my awkward shyness by writing for the Courier, which in turn forced me to talk to complete strangers.

Since starting with the Courier, I’ve had to change the way I react to social situations in order to surpass my former isolationist attitude towards life. As the photography editor, I was allowed to stay quiet by standing in the corner of a room and take photos for everyone’s articles.  

When I started my second year, I moved from my photography position over to sports writing. I would write about the games and what’s happening in and around the sports atmosphere at COD. The stands were bleak at best, being half filled with families of the athletes as well as super fans of COD athletics. Nonetheless, I had to push myself further to be active on the sidelines, as well as communicate with coaches and their star athletes to produce adequate work.

What really dislodged my introversion was becoming the paper’s news editor, where I talked to COD administration and tried my best to keep composure. I remember coming out of some of the more important interviews I did earlier into that position with jitters and cold sweat beating down my forehead from anxiety. After probably a month or two of this, I slowly overcame this and realized everyone is just human. It seems pretty obvious now, but in the moments before an interview it was far from my philosophy.

I also learned what failure truly meant after these past two years at COD. No, it wasn’t because I was at a community college. I haven’t always had a good work ethic, but I always shot high and hoped for the best without putting enough effort into my craft. That’s why it took me three times to interview for the Editor-in-Chief position for the paper before I got the job, as well the reason why I only have a 2.6 GPA.

I’m not proud of my laziness, but I am proud of the lessons my failure provided. I’ve found out how to work efficiently after being sick of falling short of my goals for three semesters in a row, and I’ve taught myself how to manage life to arrive at the end of a goal successfully. I’ve lost 30 pounds this past summer, and I’m going to use the same work ethic to achieve straight A’s.

If there’s one thing you take away from this memoir of my college experience, it’s that COD has shaped me into the person I am today. The tools provided to me by this institution taught me how to overcome my bashfulness, redesign my work ethic, and make life-changing friendships along the way. To answer the question I first posed, I’m still at COD because I need to give back to the community, which has done so much for me.