Trying to schedule a meeting with FM student Catalina (Cat) Lange can be challenging. She might be able to fit you in before her work-study position, or after her student club meeting, or maybe she can squeeze you in between her meeting with the Communications Club and writing her article for the school newspaper.
Wait, that won’t work either because she has a Think Peace Club meeting and then has to work on her piece for a school performance. The good news is she is also an RA (Residential Assistant), so maybe you can track her down in the Residence Halls… whew!
When we first sat down to interview Cat for this article, we were all struck by her confidence and poise. Each of us knew her from different activities and clubs and felt she represented the best of the best at FM. We knew she was a busy student, but as she began rattling off the long list of clubs she participates in, we couldn’t write fast enough to get them all down. Further, we found out that this fall will only be Cat’s second semester at FM; the student we had pegged as a confident sophomore was actually a brand new student!
We have many talented students at FM, but Cat is a stand-out! We were surprised to learn that Cat views her intensely involved and successful FM self as a reinvention. According to Cat, her high school career was less than stellar. She didn’t get great grades, was not very involved, and lacked confidence. She did not view herself as “college material” and did not even apply to college during her senior year. It wasn’t until she tried working after graduation when she realized that she would struggle without a college degree. She took a deep breath and applied to FM.
Cat credits her success here at FM to three things: a change of mindset, caring FM counselors, and involvement in student clubs. In terms of mindset, Cat felt that community college would be a “good place to redefine [herself] as someone different than she was in high school.” With that in mind, she focused more on her classwork, made time to study, and asked questions in class. As a result, she has seen her grades go from mediocre to excellent.
Cat knew that she needed support so, in addition to changing her approach to her studies, she also joined the TRiO program and reached out to her counselors. With their encouragement, she joined student clubs and got involved. Each new club led to a new connection and new opportunities for success. In a few short weeks, she reinvented herself as a successful college student.
As she prepares to begin her second semester of college, Cat is poised for continued success. She is pursuing a degree in Communications and Broadcast Media and hopes to one day work on documentary films. Her new “reinvented” self is ready to embrace everything FM has to offer.
Michelle Bilodeau-Lanne is an academic advisor for Quest/TRiO programs; Michelle Moore is an academic advisor/counselor for C-STEP; and, Ryoko Sekiguchi is Quest Learning services coordinator.