Samuel Cook admits to having reluctance about enrolling at TCC in 2012, “I wanted to attend another college when I graduated high school, but I couldn’t afford it,” he said. “I had a poor understanding of the value of community college.”
He says he attended TCC for two reasons. “First, it was very affordable with the same high-quality education and qualified faculty as any other college. Second, TCC aids and supports students in transferring to other colleges/universities in addition to helping them obtain scholarships.” Although he didn’t understand the value of community college when he first attended, he’s now a convert. “I recommend it to every graduating high school student.”
While attending TCC, Samuel confesses he struggled with time management. At the time, he worked part-time for Chick-fil-A as well as serving in leadership for Phi Theta Kappa and Christian Student Ministries at TCC Northwest, where he attended. “One day, I got the idea to apply for a work-study job at the Student Activities Center. This was a mistake, not because of the incredible team working there, but because of my time commitment.” Feeling like he was drowning, he had to quit the job halfway through the semester. “It remains on my record as the shortest tenure I’ve ever had at a job.” He learned two valuable lessons. Finish what you start and understand what is on your plate, so you don’t overcommit.
Samuel credits TCC with teaching him an immense amount of interpersonal communication and leadership skills, particularly in Phi Theta Kappa. “When I first joined Phi Theta Kappa (the Alpha Delta Delta chapter), I applied to join the leadership team as communications lead,” he said. “Halfway through that first year, we lost some members of our leadership team. That resulted in an empty vice president role that I volunteered to step into.”
The following year, he pursued the chapter presidency. “While the semester started out well, unfortunately, half of our leadership team left the board during the first semester of my second year.” Another valuable lesson was learned. “These two challenging years of being a leader in Phi Theta Kappa and losing fellow leaders helped me learn how to manage interpersonal conflict, especially as a leader. It also taught me how to lead a team to manage a heavy workload together, even if the team is stretched thin.”
An additional benefit of his membership in Phi Theta Kappa ensured a transfer scholarship to several universities across the U.S. “This scholarship was immensely beneficial to my transfer to the University of Texas at Arlington,” he said. “Transferring with high grades from TCC (also) helped me secure the Outstanding Transfer Scholarship at UTA.” Samuel says those scholarships, along with help from his parents made it possible for him to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in nine semesters. “I credit my family and TCC for helping me finish my degree.”
Samuel graduated from UTA in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and Public Relations. “I have enjoyed, what I would deem, a successful career since,” he said. He has worked in both public relations and advertising. “Now, I lead communications for two divisions (Financial Services and Life Science sectors) of CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate company. I get to build communications that go out to more than 12,000 employees and support events for more than 50 clients. It’s an exciting role, and I credit TCC with offering me leadership training at a pivotal point in my life.”
Speaking of TCC’s help, Samuel credits several faculty members for making a “huge impact” on him while he was at TCC. “Coach Patrick Tart, who taught me self-defense and mental preparedness. Jessica Patton (Maeer), my advisor in Phi Theta Kappa, truly kept the team together. And, finally, one of my favorite professors of all, Josh Fairbanks, who made Geology ‘rock’!”
Based on his experience, Samuel has advice for anyone considering enrolling at TCC. “Look into scholarships,” he said. “Many times, some are not even accepted by students.” When thinking about transferring, he suggests talking with advisors. “Get advice on scholarships to apply for and what you need to do to transfer smoothly.” Finally, he says to “build relationships with your professors. You have a unique opportunity to do this at TCC where the classes are indeed smaller than at most universities. Take the opportunity!”
Samuel says TCC was the best place for him to start the path towards opportunity. “I would not be where I am without the gifts of affordable, quality education and leadership training offered there.”
Are you experiencing Success at Work thanks to your time at TCC? If so, please let us know. We love hearing about the success of our graduates! Contact us at PR.Marketing@tccd.edu, and we’ll be in touch.