For many students, especially those to whom higher education is a new experience, the road to graduation can be a long and difficult one.Between juggling school, work, and family commitments and adapting to class schedules and workloads, it’s easy enough for students to get off track. “Sometimes people get lost in the crowd, and they feel like they don’t exist,” said Lezette Mack, program coordinator of MCC’s Connect 4 Success program. “We want them to know, we see you. You do exist. You are important,” she added.
Connect 4 Success began in 2011 as a resource to help students feel prepared and supported during their tenure at MCC. The program works by pairing up each students with a faculty member, usually one within their discipline. These faculty mentors then meet with their students several times throughout the semester to talk about the student’s goals and how to meet them. “(Faculty members) are well-connected, they know about the program,” Mack said.
“By pairing them with someone who does have that strong (academic) background, it can definitely help them on the road to graduation.” Students not only get advice about coursework and subject matter, but also about more general topics, like how to write a personal statement, or how to respond to negative life situations. “It’s about connecting, empowering, and succeeding,” Mack said. In addition to providing students with a professional and academic connection, Mack also said that students and mentors tend to also form a more lasting personal bond, which can be even more helpful in the long run.
“What we want is a bond — a bond between a success coach and their mentee, and we want it to be a lasting relationship,” she said. Mack also discussed other resources Connect4Success provides for students, including food boxes and scholarships. “My whole desire for this department is to make sure that if you’re missing something, by the time you leave, I don’t want you to be missing it,” Mack said. The key to academic and personal success, for Mack at least, is to provide students with a total support system. “We all have gone off track before,” she said. “Some people need someone telling them, ‘You can do it.’”