My Chatfield Story by Nicole Watkins

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Chatfield College is a small, hometown community college where you can achieve a better future. This is my Chatfield story.

I graduated high school in May of 2015. At the time, I wasn’t too sure if college was the path I wanted to take in my life, so I took a year off to think about a few things. Within that year, I came to the conclusion that college was the best path for me, so I started researching my choices. Chatfield was one of the first colleges that caught my eye. As I started researching Chatfield, I saw that it would best fit my needs. Chatfield is close to home, has small class sizes, and is cost efficient. Also, it’s a plus that the campus is beautiful!

I applied to Chatfield and got my acceptance letter within a few weeks, which was very exciting for me because I am a first generation college student. I came in to meet with my financial aid advisor, Becky Brown, to begin the FAFSA process for financial aid. One of my biggest worries was how I was going to pay for college. Sure enough, FAFSA told me that my father made too much money, so therefore I wasn’t eligible for any grants. That broke my heart, because without financial aid, I wouldn’t be able to attend college. Once I told my advisor that no financial aid meant I couldn’t go to college, she immediately started looking for other options. When I left her office, I had this overwhelming feeling of sadness that I wasn’t going to be able to attend college because of my financial status.

A few days later, I got a call from Becky.  She asked me to come in and talk because she had a solution. She told me that I was going to be able to attend Chatfield College because the scholarship committee had awarded me some scholarship money, which would cover some of my tuition. I felt a rush of happiness and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders!  We talked more about how I was going to pay for the remaining tuition, and we came to the conclusion that I would have to do work study combined with a job to pay off the remaining bill.

Fast forward to the second day of classes and, as I was driving to Chatfield, my car got hit on the rear passenger side by some lady in a minivan driving about 60-65 mph, completely totaling my car. What a wonderful way to start off the school year, right? People came up to the car, one of them being my former teacher from high school, Kim Wiederhold. I was in shock and hyperventilating, and they were all trying to get me to calm down while someone called 911. Luckily, I walked away from the crash with only a chest contusion and some deep muscle bruising.

The next day, I contacted Chatfield and told them what happened, and that I didn’t know how I was going to be able to get to school because that car was my only means of transportation. They told me that the last thing they wanted to see was me dropping out because I couldn’t find a ride to school. So they came up with the solution that if I couldn’t find a ride to school one day, they would have someone from the college come and pick me up! That right there was amazing and I am so very grateful.

I’ve been attending classes at Chatfield for more than six weeks now, and I have to say it was one of the best decisions of my life.  The faculty and staff are willing to go above and beyond for their students.  I am so truly grateful to Chatfield for everything the staff has done for me when they didn’t even know a thing about me. All they knew was that I was a student trying to better my life by getting a degree, and that was good enough for them. They care so much about the education of their students and want us all to succeed. They are all angels. Thank you to the staff of Chatfield, you are all true blessings!

-Nicole Watkins, first-year student

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