Amira Cooper is graduating from Howard Community College with the class of 2021. (Photo courtesy of Amira Cooper)
Amira Cooper is graduating from Howard Community College with the class of 2021.

Photo courtesy of Amira Cooper

Graduating From HCC and What it Means to Me

May 27, 2021

Walking across the stage, accepting my Associate’s degree in person, and wearing my black graduation gown that, even with its flowiness, would not be ideal for the summer weather, were what I envisioned my graduation to look like a year ago. However, a year ago was pre-COVID, so my expectations were never bound to come true.

I know that sounds so frustrating and sad, and trust me, it was like that for a while, but now, I feel differently.

Howard Community College, HCC, felt like a second home to me, even without campus dorms. I was extremely involved in clubs and programs like the Rouse Scholars Honors Program, The HCC Times, Caribbean Student Association and more. The friends I made and the friends that came with me welcomed and supported me along the way — as I did for them.

The faculty and professors that I will never forget hold a special place in my heart. The Academic Commons, Honors Lounge and Student Life office will always be my safe places. I miss the events and free food, I will miss the Starbucks drink that I miraculously had the money for, and I will miss the skittles I got from the vending machine.

I will miss HCC so much, but I have to move on.

Graduating is more than moving on, it is about opening a new chapter in my life and writing it as I go.”

Graduating is more than moving on, it is about opening a new chapter in my life and writing it as I go. This counts as the second graduation that I will attend, my high school graduation being the first, but definitely not the last one I will go through.

Yet graduating feels weird, to be honest. It feels like I’m leaving my home behind even though I will find another home at the Unversity of Maryland, Baltimore County, or UMBC. I feel attached to the memories I made, to the words I wrote, to the buildings I spent time in, and to the people I met.

I am not flying away from my nest — I will be stepping out of my comfort zone. Oddly enough, I am okay with that.

I am okay with the fact that I am leaving because I know that I will come back to visit and see what I missed. I am okay with graduating from HCC because I am leaving prepared for UMBC with numerous possibilities ahead of me. It is going to be a new environment, new buildings, new people, and a new beginning, but I am ready.

Leaving HCC means that I mattered. It means that I put in the effort and that I am graduating with my best self. It means that I am ready for the next step in my life.

“You can get there from here,” a bittersweet motto from a memorable college that supported me all the way and will continue to support me every day.

Thank you, HCC! You mean the world to me.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Graduating From HCC and What it Means to Me”

  1. Heather on May 28th, 2021 10:53 am

    Thanks for sharing Amira—that was beautifully said. Good luck to you and congrats!!!!

  2. Trent Tabor on August 26th, 2021 5:02 pm

    As a former classmate of mine, I wish you good luck on your journey.

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