David Baker

Words of Encouragement

If it hadn’t been for that personal touch, I don’t think I would have ever made it through that first semester.

David Baker, a 2017 media arts graduate at CCC-Hastings, is one of many students who enrolled in college at an early age and things did not work out as originally planned. In fact, he describes his experience as a “train wreck.”

Baker first enrolled at CCC in the mid-1990s when he was in his 20s following a tour of duty in the U.S. Army that took him to Hawaii and countries in the southern hemisphere.

“I was so immature, so undisciplined,” recalls Baker.

Jump ahead some 20 years later when Baker took a leap of faith and returned to CCC-Hastings on a spur-of-the-moment decision. He wanted to finish his study of media arts so that he could get a job in radio, which was his original plan. However, the requirements had changed as technology had advanced over the years.

“When I came back, it was completely different,” said Baker. “You get a little bit of everything in terms of what media arts has to offer, whether it’s graphic arts, webpage design, photography, video or audio.”

However, one thing had not changed about the media arts program. John Brooks and Gordon Wheeler were once again his instructors. In addition to helping him feel at ease with the technology, both Brooks and Gordon assisted Baker in readjusting to college life.

“As a nontraditional student coming back, I remember the first time I sat down in my class and thought ‘I’m an idiot. I should have never come back and done this. I don’t know what I’m doing,’” said Baker. “But they hold you up and [say] ‘you can do this and this is what you have to do.’ It’s personal for them. They want to see you succeed and that helps.”

Baker also credits human services instructor Janice Hill and former CCC English composition instructor Amy Doty for help in the early days of his return to the Hastings Campus.

“Amy Doty took an interest in me because she was doing her dissertation on nontraditional students and so I fit right into what she was trying to do,” said Baker.

"If it hadn’t been for that personal touch, I don’t think I would have ever made it through that first semester. But once I got past the initial fear and lack of confidence, I thought, ‘I can do this.’”

With all of the assistance and dedication, Baker made the dean’s list that first semester. In fact, he made the dean’s list in each of his four semesters at CCC. At the 2017 commencement ceremony at CCC-Hastings, Baker gave the invocation and the benediction.

Baker is now looking forward to enrolling at a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree in communication.

With all of the encouragement he received while at CCC, Baker is giving his own encouragement to anyone who is considering going to school.

“It is intimidating, but once you get past that initial (fear), you can do it,” said Baker. “If I can do it, anybody can do it. Trust me. Get yourself out here. Get yourself enrolled in classes. It’s easier than you think it is.”