By Nicholas Hill
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – For millions of people, returning to school, whether it is at a community college or at a university, can be a difficult transition, whether it be finding time to complete the classes or trying to remember how to be a student. For those like Patricia Barrett, a returning student to Camden County College, by returning to college, they want to complete what they started, even after many years away from the classroom.

Patricia Barrett, a returning student to Camden County College, studies online, unlike her previous years at Camden County College. By Nicholas Hill, CCC Journalism Program

Barrett, a graduate of Triton Regional High School in Runnemede, N.J., originally studied at Camden County College in 1994, with her major as liberal arts and science. However, Barrett was unable to complete her degree due to the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard closure. “Because I had been transferred to McGuire Air Base, with the closure of the Naval Yard, I was unable to proceed to come to CCC. It was too much to travel to work during the day and then come to class at night,” Barrett says.

As the years passed, Barrett realized the importance of having a college degree. “With the way the job market is, a high school degree isn’t enough anymore,” says Barrett. “Nowadays, a college degree is needed to get a good job and to advance in the real world.” With this, Barrett wanted to come back and attempt to graduate with a degree from Camden County College.

After changing her major to business administration, Barrett decided to ease into her transition back into her studies. This time, unlike her previous visit to Camden County College, she is able to take her classes online. “This definitely is the biggest change, the ability to do classes online. They never did anything like this last time I was here,” Barrett says.

Due to her employment as a program analyst at Fort Dix Army Base, this major will help her progress in the current workplace. “Because of my job with the base, by, hopefully, having this degree, I’ll be able to apply to better jobs and have a better chance to impress the evaluators,” she says.

Although Barrett’s intention is good, it has still been a struggle. “Yes, it’s definitely harder to come back and try to complete my degree again,” Barrett says. “I feel it is harder to leave for so many years and then to come back and to get into that mode of being a student again.” But that does not mean she is giving up. “I do plan on taking more classes after this semester,” she says.

While at times it is a struggle, Barrett encourages others like her to return for their degrees. “I would highly recommend others to complete their degrees,” Barrett says. “With a college degree, it can help with obtaining a job. In this economy, a college degree is extra important.”

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