AUBURN – Val Elie would have to give mixed grades for her first semester at Central Maine Community College.

Although she did well academically, she was disappointed in her sociology class.

“I’d go, and then leave, wondering what was the purpose of the class,” said Val, who took that class and one other this fall as she prepares for a degree in early childhood education.

But she found her other class, child development, terrific, and learned something new every day – sometimes about herself.

A quiet girl, Val loathes public speaking and was dreading the class presentation part of the child development curriculum.

“But it wasn’t horrible,” she said of her presentation, citing the laid-back attitude of her professor and classmates as key. “It wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be.”

Val said she hopes she can arrange her spring schedule so her classes are offered on the same day. She’s been working full-time at Staples since before the holidays and it would be easier to juggle if she could go to the Auburn campus just once a week.

Juggling is something she’s had a lot of practice with. Besides school and work, she splits her down time with friends, her family in Lewiston and her boyfriend in Greene. During the holidays, she went to celebrations with both families.

“It was a little crazy,” she admitted with a laugh.

She’s grateful for the holiday break since it gives her an opportunity to unwind a little and reconnect with friends who have also just finished their first college semester. And then it’s time to gear up for classes again.

“I’m really looking forward to them,” she said.

– By Carol Coultas


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