I entered RVC the fall of 2015 in the Running Start program. I was nervous, excited, terrified; I think I felt every emotion possible. In the two years I did Running Start I was challenged academically, socially, emotionally, and more. I went into RVC not quite sure what I wanted to do. I was thinking of going into a physics field, but loved the idea of being a musician, simply being too scared to act on it. I wasn’t very aware of the world around me, living in a bubble that didn’t stretch too far out of Winnebago County. I had my group of friends at the high school, people I had known all my life, and I stuck with that.
My first semester was new, exciting, and that’s when the learning began. I realized there was so much to learn, and the basic subjects like history, English and more could be expanded into 5-8 more specific classes. My second semester was one of the hardest with one of the best outcomes. I was missing the high school and classes were starting to get difficult. I was overwhelmed with the amount of classes I was taking and the course material, opting to take Intro to Non-Western Music as a kind of stress reliever/class I would really enjoy. This class was one of the best things that happened to me. I spoke with Professor Stein and Dr. Beert about the music classes RVC offered, becoming more comfortable with my dream of being a musician.
I had a blast in the class and started to realize my passion for music, feeling more comfortable with pursuing a career in it. (A huge plus with this class is that I met one of my now best friends in it; I am so grateful for his friendship.)
Senior year/2nd year was quickly upon me, and I signed up for Music Theory I very fast. Professor Laprade and Professor Stein helped me so much. I became a stronger musician, explored my options, and finally felt comfortable being who I was. Amidst all the craziness that was caused by college visits for transferring and preparing to graduate both here and at my high school (South Beloit High School), I was a new person, or, rather, the real me was finally coming out. I made it through the challenges that came with difficult math classes, senioritis, and the music I had to learn and finally entered my last semester. The last semester flew by so fast, and the final awakening I had occurred- taking environmental biology with Professor Haverly. I had heard it was a good class and it fit into my schedule so I signed up for it, but I in no way expected the impact the course would have on me. I learned so much about the world, myself, other people and more in that semester than I had my entire life, and left the class more aware, both of myself and my values, as well as of those around me.
RVC was everything. It was challenging, it was scary, it was exciting, and it was life changing. I had the time of my life here, and I can guarantee I wouldn’t be who I am right now if it weren’t for the opportunities provided to me. I gained knowledge, understanding, confidence, a best friend, and so much more from this school, and I couldn’t help but feel a little emotional walking the stage to shake the president’s hand at graduation. In that moment I felt like I was saying goodbye to Rock Valley, but I really wasn’t. Maybe I won’t be on the campus again, but the lessons I learned will be with me forever.
Magdalyn Mitchell just graduated from Rock Valley College in May 2017.