More than 1,000 students will graduate from Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) on May 23, at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Check out the below Q&A with Daniel Nkengafac, a PGCC student who started his journey taking classes at University Town Center, one of the college’s five degree sites. Daniel will graduate with an Associate Degree in General Studies with a concentration in computer science.
Q: Why did you choose to attend Prince George’s Community College?
A: I came to Prince George's Community College because I had the opportunity to start over. Plus I had taken college classes here earlier since I was a dual enrollment student.
Q: What do you mean by starting over?
A: In high school I didn't put myself in the right situation to succeed because I put myself in a group of friends not looking at the same things I was looking at in terms of success. I decided that it would be better for me to just think about everything that I've done there wrong and then try to recreate that somewhere different.
Q: What is an example of something you did wrong prior to enrolling at PGCC?
A: My worst moment in high school was when I got my first semester grade during senior year. I had a 4.0 [GPA] and it dawned on me that it was the first 4.0 I ever had in my high school career. So I was like “What have I been doing? Why haven't I been able to accomplish as much as much as I could?” I knew I was hard working but I didn't give myself the opportunity to succeed because I was around the wrong people and I wasn't as focused as I should have been.
Q: What made you want to change everything and start making your grades a priority?
A: When I finally had a 4.0 in my senior year, I called my mom and cried. I was talking to her and she's like, “Why are you crying?” I told her I'm the first child in an African home and many people here and back home in Cameroon, where I'm from, look up to me. So if I'm not doing great and I'm not helping my parents by going to school for free, I'm not making that difference. I'm not helping my parents who have helped me tremendously. I got to the point where I just started thinking about the bigger picture -- the bigger picture of my family, the bigger picture of what I could potentially be.
Q: What was the transition like from high school to college?
A: Dual to Enrollment helped me tremendously. When I came to PGCC, I wanted to succeed so I was more focused.
Q: How has PGCC helped you achieve success?
A: The people that were around me tremendously benefited me. Those people really helped me grow because they put me in the right mindset to help the school, to volunteer, and to be involved. I'm also in the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program and that program has tremendously affected me. It has given me so many opportunities. Before I joined the program, I didn't understand how much entrepreneurialism affects the world. And that's something that I love and I'm working on improving for myself and for my family.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
A: I will attend University of Maryland, College Park, and earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Q: What do you plan to do once you complete your bachelor’s degree?
A: I want to have an app-creating company. I really love making apps and I really love software development so that's something that I want to do after I graduate.
The dialogue has been truncated and edited to be more concise and flow smoothly.