Student body president grateful for DCC

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Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Dawson Community College Student Body President Maxwell Knodel sits in his office on the DCC campus.

‘Better than I could have ever imagined’

Knodel didn’t really want to go to college. What he envisioned the college experience to be didn’t appeal to him.

Now, with graduation just a week away, the Dawson Community College Associated Student Body president’s outlook on college has changed completely, and he attributes that to finding the perfect fit for him at DCC.

He is grateful for what the school was done for him, not only preparing him for a career in law enforcement but also giving him the skills and confidence he will need in all aspects of his adult life.

“It’s definitely worth the time that you spend here, even if it’s just a two-year college. It perfect to get a college experience under your belt,” Glasgow-native Knodel said last week. “It’s perfect for rural students who are used to small towns and small schools because the classroom sizes, it’s not a culture shock.”

Knodel said he didn’t really care to go to college, but he knew he would have to continue his education if he wanted to make his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer a reality.

Several law enforcement friends of Knodel’s had been through the program at DCC and recommended it.

“I heard so many good things about Holly Dersham-Bruce, the law enforcement (instructor),” he said.

DCC was an attractive option because it was close – only a couple of hours away from his hometown – and the small enrollment was a plus as well.

“Then it came to figuring out how much it cost, and it was pretty affordable, and I thought, you know what, I’m gonna do it,” he said.

What Knodel didn’t know when he signed up at DCC was how much he would flourish as a college student. He had a tough time in high school, where making good grades didn’t come easy, and he worried that college classes would be large and overwhelming.

He said he expected to be “just another fish in the sea” as a DCC student, but it quickly became obvious to him that every student counted to the faculty and staff at the college.

When advisors and faculty and staff members began calling him by his first name, he was surprised. He realized he wasn’t just a number like he might have been at a large university.

“They took the time out of their day to know my name and realize who I was and that means a lot to someone who wasn’t super popular in high school,” he said.

That sense of belonging prompted him to want to get involved.

Knodel said that working under last year’s ASB president as the secretary during his freshman year of college piqued his interest in running for the position himself. He wanted a role in planning many of the fun activities he had enjoyed his first year and wanted to feel more of a purpose during his time at DCC. He accomplished those things, but probably the biggest thing he will take away from his time as ASB president is the leadership skills he developed, he noted.

Some days the balancing act gets overwhelming, but Knodel said he wouldn’t change the experience if he could.

“I probably would have stayed in my dorm room all of last year and this year if I hadn’t been involved in ASB either year. It’s definitely helped me ... to come out of my shell,” Knodel noted.

Another thing that has offered Knodel the opportunity to stay involved is his role as resident assistant in the dormitories, a program that was just implemented this year. Knodel said this role also developed his leadership skills and enforcing the rules of the college goes along with his law enforcement path.

“We are also there to help people out, if they are locked out of their dorms or if they just need someone to let off steam to – you’re a friend and an assistant at once,” he said.

This has given Knodel the opportunity to help other students who may be unsure of their college experience, just like he was when he started his freshman year almost two years ago.

After graduation, Knodel hopes to get a job as a law enforcement officer. His goal is to get hired on as a peace officer, go to the law enforcement academy and retire from law enforcement within 20 years. He eventually hopes to work for the Glasgow Sheriff’s Department.

Leaving DCC to move on to the next step in life is bittersweet, however, as he moves on from a college experience that he says was “better than I could have ever imagined.”

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at