I was able to find my way at Lane. I always felt like if I had an issue, I could talk to anybody. It felt like India — the community college environment — like you belong to a family.
Shijo John never intended to attend a community college.
He came from southern India to the United States in early 2017 with a different plan: earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon through a sponsorship from a family friend. But, in the middle of his second term, he could no longer afford to attend UO due to his sponsor’s unexpected hardship. John found support and encouragement from the community to finish his education at Lane.
“Before I came to the U.S., I had no idea about community college,” John said. “I was able to find my way at Lane. I always felt like if I had an issue, I could talk to anybody. It felt like India — the community college environment — like you belong to a family.”
John became involved with the International Program, which provided him opportunities to share his culture and learn from other students. He found a job on campus as a tutor with the TRIO/TRIO STEM program, which he continues on a part-time basis.
“The tutoring job was perfect because it helped me a lot because I wasn’t very good at math and it helped me understand math creatively as I had to think about it differently to help other students understand concepts,” he said. “Being involved with the International Programs also helped me, too. I learned how to communicate more effectively and express my culture and explain India through my lens.”
He also gained valuable experience through an internship coordinated by the Cooperative Education Office. During fall 2020, John worked as an Information Systems Intern with the Lane Council of Governments helping staff set up laptops for secure remote work options during the pandemic.
John completed his transfer degree in computer science in fall 2020 and has continued his professional development in the IT field in preparation for his full-time job search in May.
He credits his experience at Lane with providing opportunities and experiences he didn’t imagine when he left his home in Chennai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
“At Lane, it’s a very diverse population,” he said. “There are people coming back from work and have a family or coming back to college to finish a degree. It was really moving and helped me to see that there is no failure. You can always come back. Community colleges can help you make a step to achieve success.”