child holding pen with lots of colors coming out above him in a cloud

Achieve Your Dreams


The Achieve Your Dreams program at Montcalm Community College helps students identify their dreams and plan the steps necessary to achieve them. 


Achieve Your Dream Essay Contest 2023


Have you seen the Dream Tree at MCC?  It’s located in the Donald C. Burns Administration/Library Building near the steps leading down to the library. Students, staff, and faculty have written their dreams and goals on the leaves of the tree. Take a moment to explore these uniquely personal dreams. If you could, how would you help someone achieve one of their dreams? What can you do to help dreamers become achievers? Dreams are often achieved when someone else contributes something – big or small, tangible or intangible, toward the end goal.


Write a one-page essay on what you can do or are doing to help others achieve their dreams.



Entries must be in essay format, one page in length, and include the student essayist’s name and student number. Essays are accepted from all MCC students and may be submitted via email to Biology Instructor Dr. Michelle Gibson, Essays are due by March 22, 2023 for consideration for a monetary prize and publication on this website. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded during NAP (Night Against Procrastination) in April.



Achieve Your Dreams Book Program


MCC's Achieve Your Dreams Book can help you define and plan your dreams. Your dreams can include anything from owning a dog or earning a degree, to owning a business or winning a Nobel Prize. The first step is to decide what you want out of life and write down both short term and long term goals. Using one page per dream, use the rest of the page to write down the steps you will take to achieve it. Start small (for example - getting an A on a test this week by studying 20 minutes each day) and then move up. If you don't know where to start, ask an instructor or counselor for assistance. 


Stamps are available at MCC Sidney and Greenville Campuses. There are many opportunities to receive stamps. May we suggest...


  • Computer Lab
    • Work on an online assignment
    • Work on a project
  • IT Help Desk
    • Password assistance
    • Explore apps
  • Library
    • Checkout materials
    • Use library resources
    • Study time in the library
    • Rooted in Reading
  • Student Services
    • Meet with a tutor
    • Testing
    • Review your academic plans or credits


  • Writing Center
    • Meet with a consultant
    • Attend a workshop
  • Select MCC Events
    • MCC Reads
    • Nature Trails
    • Ash Lecture Series
    • Club Day
    • NAP (Night Against Procrastination)
  • Recreation Desk
    • Use the gym, fitness center or pool
  • President's Office
    • Meet MCC President Stacy H. Young, Ph.D.





Each stamp enters you into a drawing at the end of the semester!

1 dream stamp = 1 drawing ticket

Learn more about the Achieve Your Dreams program:


Essay Contest 2021 Winners

Special thanks to Meijer and Leppinks for their support of this MCC event.


Kyah Fisher

One thing that has truly helped me work towards my college graduation is the amount of support you receive here at MCC. From the get-go counselors, advisors, Student Services and even professors offered support in all areas. There were times that I didn’t know what classes to take, what hall to walk down, or if I was even capable of completing the class. All I had to do was reach out and I would find a helping hand leading me in the right direction. I assumed the college was going to offer academic support, but I didn’t realize they would offer emotional support as well. As cheesy as it sounds, they have answers for almost everything you might be worried about.


Felicia Hummel

My experience here at MCC has made me more interested in my classes and makes me want to learn more. I have been to a large university where it is hard to understand everything and ask questions because the classes are so big, but here at MCC the classes are small making it easier for me to do things correctly and feel comfortable asking questions. The instructors here are very nice, and you can tell that they want you to do well in their classes. They do whatever it takes to make sure you understand what is going on. I plan on going on to vet-tech school in the future, so I am ecstatic that I get to go on field trips for my animal science class getting to experience new things and learn even more about animals! This is a great school if you want more hands-on experience and more one on one time as well. Since I am going on to vet-tech school I also have to worry about school debt and being able to pay for tuition. I was able to get a scholarship to help pay for some of my tuition this semester. Also, the tuition here is more affordable than most colleges and universities these days which makes it better. I hope for more great things to come throughout the semester!


Emily Lindeman

Montcalm Community College itself has helped me continue to move toward my graduation goals.


I was living in New York City when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Like so many others, my day-to-day life was impacted, and it offered me a chance to reflect on where I was at in life and where I was going. Living in the Upper East side near Lennox hospital, I would watch the essential workers coming to and from the hospital from my bedroom window. I started looking into pre-requisites for Physician Assistant Programs, EMT programs, and nursing programs. Changing careers still felt like an unattainable daydream, but with each day, it became clearer and clearer that I desired to do something more meaningful with my time.


In June, I made the decision to make a trip home to Michigan for the summer to be closer to family and the outdoors. Summer came and went but I stayed. I enrolled in a few courses at the local college, North Central, while I continued to work remotely. I networked with health professionals in my family and got connected with friends of friends in the field. It became clear that the nursing program at North Central was a perfect match for me.


Once I had my sites set on a new goal, I was eager to get started. I was enrolled and more classes, was enjoying what I was learning and was enthusiastic about how things were unfolding. Unfortunately, the inevitable scheduling issues came. There was no Anatomy and Physiology class available for me to enroll in at my home college in time for me to apply to the nursing program of 2021. Returning back to college for a second degree is a very humbling experience and I was disappointed that things were no longer unfolding as smoothly as I hoped. A bit defeated, I accepted that my career switch was going to take a bit longer than I anticipated but accepted that if this was really something I wanted to do, a year difference in completion wouldn’t derail me.


I met with my advisor to devise a new plan and she unexpectedly informed me that I could take my needed courses at MCC through the Michigan College Online. I had never heard of Montcalm Community and was a bit skeptical as to how it would go managing classes from two different intuitions, let alone online.


My experience with Montcalm has been nothing but wonderful. Lab kits were graciously and swiftly sent to my home, saving me a three and half hour drive and from re-arranging my work schedule. The courses are extremely well organized with a very easy to use platform. My professor is incredible. She is knowledgeable and engaging. The information is provided in so many different forms including lectures, videos, readings, as well easily accessible paths to outside recourses. All of this has made a very difficult course, that I couldn’t picture being taught strictly online, not only extremely enjoyable but very worthwhile.


I am so glad I had the opportunity to take these classes with Montcalm. I have a whole new appreciation for courses that were thoughtfully curated to be successful and pleasant for us online students. When the semester ends, I will certainly miss signing into zoom on Wednesday evenings to learn from my professor but I am so grateful that my original plan was changed, it opened up an unexpected opportunity to have these experiences at Montcalm, all from the comfort of my apartment “Up North”.


Emily O’Boyle 

The Oldest One


As a young adult coming into college, I already knew that there was going to be older people here. So, I assume that at least everybody that was here was going to be as old as I was or older. Not even within a week of school I came across some people that looked my age and I wanted to make friends with them. Although I seem like a very social and outgoing person it's very hard for myself to make friends in new areas especially by myself. I didn't know how to approach this group of four to six people. So instead of approaching them I went and got lunch. I sat at a table that wasn’t too far away from them and the aroma from my cheesy fries caught one of their attention. I didn't know it at that time, but I had a hunch that they were talking about me. This made me even more scared to go talk to them.


I ended up overhearing their fight over if guns were better than bows. I knew a lot about this topic, and I really wanted to be a part of the discussion. So, it took every part of me to swallow my fear and walked over to them. I asked if I could sit, and they told me that I could. After a bit of hearing more about the topic. I laid out my thoughts and said something about crossbows, which changed the whole discussion. They really liked my ideas and I felt like I connected with them.


I found out a little later that they weren't offended that I eavesdropped on them earlier because one of them told me that they wanted to come talk to me and they were nervous as well. He wanted to tell me how good my food smelt and wanted to know where they could get some. I told them that it was at the food truck and half of the table left. Which left me with two of the strangers that were in the group. I became very nervous because there was no more conversation happening. Then I realized that I thought I knew one of them from a long time ago. So, I asked them if they ever played soccer or refereed because that's the only place that I would socialize with other people. They were a referee at a soccer game and then the conversation stopped again.

There was a long awkward silence before the group came back but I was becoming more confident when they did. That's until they started talking about their age and I soon realized that I was the only twenty-year-old standing there. Out of the whole group that was standing there I was the oldest and the second oldest person standing there was seventeen years old. This is when I had the realization that high schoolers were also in college. After that it became very awkward because they also thought I was a teenager. They thought I was about seventeen years old as well. We all took our separate ways to class and I hadn't talked to them for over three months.

Later I came across one of the people that were in the group and she didn't know who I was, but she said that I looked familiar. I told her who I was and how she knew me. She said, “Oh yeah you're the girl that we had that really cool conversation with.” I told her why I hadn’t talked to them since that day because I thought I made it awkward. She told me that it wasn’t weird that I was older than them and they thought I was cool.

All this time I thought they thought it was weird, when in reality I was the one that made the situation weird. From this experience I learned that not only are there people that are way older than me in college, but there are people that are younger than me as well. The only way to make friends in college is to go up to a person and talk to them even if it's about cheesy fries. It also doesn't matter how old or young a person is in college. People can be friends with them no matter what. This experience made me want to come back to school to not only get my degree, but also make friends with people that are sitting by themselves because who knows what conversations are ahead. This experience also makes me want to go for my dreams as an interpreter for deaf students. So, they may be able to have those conversations to learn life lessons just as I did. This may also teach other people life lessons as well.


Amber Carlson

I was sitting at my desk at work one day when my director came into my office and mentioned that she wanted me to go back to college. As I sat there and looked at her, I thought that there was no way I could be going back to school after eighteen years! She pretty much said, “You’re going.”


Going on to the MCC website to sign up was crazy as I was thinking I am actually doing this. Walking up to the college was scary, because, for one, I was in unfamiliar with the building, and two, I had to take a test. Taking tests was not my thing eighteen years ago and still is not! After taking the Accuplacer test and being placed in a class, being there was actually comforting. I needed the learning experiences to further my career and my education anyway.


What I have learned at MCC as I keep working toward my graduation is that there are people that will not let you struggle going through school. That was one of the fears I had when I signed up. Will I make it through? Taking the class GNST 100 when I entered the school also got me to think about what my end goal is for going to college. My end goal is to have the criteria to better my career and sitting myself up for retirement.


Another thought that I think of that helps me work toward graduation is the other classmates that are in the classes with me. I am older and going to college, and I see all these younger kids that are trying to figure out what they want to do in their lives and are trying to establish live. I feel if they can go to college and work, then so can I. When I was their age, I had no interest in going to college after school. I look up to those kids that are going right after high school. If I had not attended MCC, then I would have not learned that there are actually a lot of people that are all different ages trying to reach their goal.

Jenny Ryske

A dream is something that is in the future, that you think of doing some day. Well, November 2020 was the month I applied to go back to school and was excepted for the Future for Front liners Program. My dream of becoming a Nurse was about to come true! Not many people can say that, but I did. Working in the medical field for 20 years has made me want to pursue nursing. I spoke with counselor Brandy about my options of courses to sign up for and there, I found myself starting my new path to success. What’s funny is that I inspired my husband to join along with me. He has wanted to go back to school as well and I told him we could do it together. We are in the same course GNST, with different instructors. We talk about what we discuss in that class and help each other out with assignments.


I remember stopping in to fill out something for Financial Aid and there in the doorway stood a unicorn. He was walking around with a little girl, inspiring her, I suppose. I couldn’t help to think that it was a way to get children thinking about college at a young age. I also know my children had gone on a field trip to MCC and they remember swimming with their friends and the elevator. Just to think this may inspire a young child to attend college someday. This inspires their dreams. Showing them the way to success and making it fun and memorable is key.


Scott DeHaan

They say dreaming's free at MCC, and now that dream is real for me I was not planning to attend classes at MCC. That was not until I received notice of the Frontlines program. What an amazing opportunity it is. I made the decision on what felt like a whim at the time. After all, I have a 20-year career at the hospital, why change. But I gathered the information needed and passed that on to the staff in the Administration office. It seemed like in no time at all I was picking classes. It was a bit of a shock to me, that within a brief period, there I was on the edge of who knows what. I didn't even want to tell anybody I had signed up for classes for fear of failure. And at my age, that was a possibility.


Sitting here at week 10 and looking back I laugh to myself. It’s week 10 and I just now feel like I am getting in the swing of it all. It’s been a whirlwind of a journey so far. Each day I walk into English class I feel like I just got hit by a tsunami. By the time I walk out I finally feel like I may be getting on top of that wave. However, the next week I’m getting hit again. Ms. Mulcahy is a fantastic instructor. I have come a long way in a short time thanks to her. She keeps telling me, "Scott, you're doing fine.”


No matter how panicked I feel at 6:15pm every Tuesday night, the next day I feel like I may pull this whole college thing off thanks to her instruction and encouragement. I guess I will see in about 5 weeks how well this is going. By my calculations I have 4 more giant waves waiting to hit me. I keep coming back, I must enjoy it. I appreciate everyone's guidance and encouragement.


Jakob Phillips 

My Education Experience


Honestly, there are quite a few different avenues to take with this piece. I want to focus on the high school experience. High school was a very exciting time. A whole new class of people, great new staff, and a bunch of new and exciting opportunities. I was really looking forward to the experience. What I never expected from my high school was how many bad things it would present. I expected high school to be fun and joyful, but it turned out to be a dreadful place. The people were awful, the classes were harder, the workload ever increasing, the drama, the stories that would be spread like plagues infecting the minds of hundreds of students, and the stress compiling on itself. High school was terrible. If you were not one of the “popular” kids, you were going to drown in the never-ending river of lies and deceit. I hated high school with a burning passion. It was the worst years I have ever experienced to this day. I hope to go back one day. I know, that sounds crazy, right? I want to go back to try and fix the issue. To try and help the students who secretly struggle, to pick up those who are down, and to help remove the bad from high school to make it a better and more enjoyable place. That would be my dream goal for my future. To save others from the world I had endured.


Zachariah Yonker

My educational experience has definitely been interesting, for quite a few reasons. Of course, the quarantine and pandemic caused everyone’s educational journey to take quite the turn, for better or worse. Although many, including myself, would say it took a turn for the worse. Some college classes and professors are simply not suited for an online environment. When my in-person classes transferred to an online setting, it quickly became apparent which professors understood that their students would struggle having to quickly transfer to an online environment and which ones were oblivious to the fact.


One of my courses, instead of making the classes more online friendly, simply did not change, besides the fact that we were now online. The lectures were tedious and boring, being three hours long, and there were two a week. Six hours is simply too much time to be sitting in front of a computer and listening to a lecture. While the entirety of the allotted time was not dedicated to lectures and pushing through the material, nearly half of the time was spent reviewing the previous chapters and walking through homework problems, as the problems in the homework were, unsurprisingly, much more complex than the examples in class and the textbook. The textbook was little help as well, as it was supposed to provide worked solutions to every other problem, like it had for previous chapters, yet it was every four problems we would have a worked solution. While I believe that it was better to have some sort of guidance for problems a student is stumped with, these worked solutions were the absolute bare minimum for the simplest problems that, much more often than not, students would have no trouble with. It was the problems with no worked solutions or even an answer for checking our work that left us dumbfounded, as they were so much more complex than anything we had done up until that point that nearly all of these problems had to be worked through with our professor, as we were ill prepared for these problems. It’s classes and professors like these that discourage students from taking higher levels of a subject, as they have found it to be so difficult because the professor simply did not teach very well. Thankfully, the professor realized that because of the pandemic and quarantine, many were struggling with the class, so they bumped up everyone’s grade.


On the positive side of things, my English professor for that semester was absolutely terrific. I despise the English subject, not because I find it difficult, but because I have found it to be repetitive throughout the years, which to me is a waste of my time to be taking so many classes that have the exact same structure as the levels before. However, this professor was so far above my expectations that I was blown away. The class was interactive and exciting, and a completely different structure than any other English class I have taken in both high school and college. We were given loads of creative freedom in the style we wrote our papers and what they were about. While there were some limitations when it came to a specific paper, it would often just be, for example, that the students would have to write about a famous person in a way most people wouldn’t write a paper about them as. Or that it would just have to be about the book we just finished reading in class. Sadly, COVID-19 hit, and the class was moved to an online class, completely changing the mood of the class, but not necessarily how one would think. It wasn’t made into a class I hated, rather just one where I had to do some simple. Yet highly interactive work while we were online. It was the best English class I have ever taken, and I highly doubt I will ever find a professor like that one again, especially an English professor.


James W. Anible

My educational experience has been…Well, hectic. I started at a school in Lowell, MI, Bushnell Elementary. I really don’t remember much from there, other than a jungle gym. It was rainbow, rusted, and literally the only thing I think of when I think of Bushnell. Later I went to Cherry Creek in Lowell for about a year, don’t remember much from there either. Biggest thing I can remember though is the Pokemon Card game which all of us little 2nd graders were obsessed with. Afterwards I went to Saranac, all the way up to my 8th grade year, and it was a typical elementary experience…Although I was not a great child. I was the kid that if you saw me come out of the shadows, it was in the principal’s office with a bright pink slip in my hand. Not the best impression to leave anywhere. I went to a Cyber Academy until 10th grade, and then…Drumroll Please…Arrived at MCC. And I have to say, compared to other schools, MCC is awesome. They provided me the opportunity to go to Early College, the program that lets you not only get tuition free, but also a look at what college could be like while you are still in high school. Also, I have always had a hard time making friends, and some of the people at MCC I would definitely classify as friends, no matter how much I would joke about only having Accomplices, Associates, and Nemeses. Anyways though, yeah…My education led me here, and I for one am hoping it works out better than my other attempts at schooling.


Megan Hunt

What’s your Dream?


My Educational experience at MCC has been amazing during the past year. My teachers and professors have been amazing. They all have gone out of the way to make us students feel comfortable and be understanding when we struggle. I have had my fair share of struggling with my course work but going to the tutors and talking to my professors has helped me so much. The best thing I have experienced this past semester is every Wednesday night when I have ENG 101. My instructor has gone out of her way to make every lesson we have learned in class relate to a clip from the tv show Friend's. Every Wednesday we get to sit in her class and laugh at a short Friend’s clip that somehow always connects to what we are learning. It is the best part of my week at MCC.


Kyle Hendrie-Evans

A kid growing up the youngest of five, to a single Mother, well beneath the poverty line, statistics say he wouldn’t graduate High School, let alone going to college. Even if by some miracle that kid could go to college, there was no way he would finish. A first-generation college student, with low High School grades? He wouldn’t make a semester.


Who is this kid you ask? Well, it’s me. I grew up moving every time the rent went up and could no longer afford where we lived. All my sibling dropped out of High School, and statics told me I was next. Except, in 2013 I defied statistics and graduated.
In 2017 I continued to defy statistics and enrolled in Montcalm Community College. How did a poor kid like me pay for it? Well, I worked 40 hours each week to pay my way through. Lived on 4 hours of sleep, and at times became a ticking timebomb of stress. But in 2020, I graduated with my Associates Degree in Business Management.


I now stand with a brighter future. With doors of opportunity flying open in front of me. Again, statistics tell me that’s only due my education. Except it’s not.


That future isn’t due to the pieces of papers hung on my wall. It’s because of the hard work I discovered through this journey. I didn’t give up when everybody told me it would be okay, I had done enough, or I had already gone farther than they expected; I continued to go further.


I’m not the same kid who started this journey. Thanks to his dedication and stubbornness to prove everybody wrong; I stand here. By the work of his two hands, I have a future in front of me that was told would never exist, and it was crafted by him.


Above the skills taught through hours of lectures, or knowledge from 15-page papers. This journey I’ve been on has taught me how to succeed. Not to accept what society has designated me to do with my life.


Long after my education is complete, I will keep utilizing these lessons. I will continue to defy the statistics placed in front of me. I will knock down any, and every door of opportunity in front of me. Not because others allow me to. Rather, because I learned how to.


Alison Skogseth

Time Marches On…


As a dual-enrolled student at GHS and MCC, I have learned one major lesson: “Time marches on.” The pandemic has been overwhelming, but, as a student, no matter the situation, you must move forward. After losing many opportunities outside of my control, there was still something out there that nothing could steal—my education. Therefore, in the beginning of this academic year, I decided to dig deep and make a commitment to earn both my high school diploma and associate degree in 2022. Balancing AP courses, extracurricular activities, work, and college hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to budget my time when I feared that there was no time to spare. Staying dedicated to all parts of the educational process has been overwhelming, but I do see the outcome. I see a young woman who did not surrender her dreams, even when the world was unpredictable. Time does march on, and, soon enough, I will be marching across a stage as a proud graduate of Montcalm Community College.


Josellyn Flores-Soñando Libremente

I fell in love with the state of Michigan, and a Michigander, the first time I visited. The Midwestern-nice and crystal-clear lakes couldn’t compete with Northern and Coastal Virginia. I cannot list how many times I thought to myself, “I’m going to sign up for classes,” but always backed out because I had a “unique case.” I am a Virginia student that moved to the mitten to pursue a better life in the healthcare field. I have previously attended two universities therefore I had more than one transcript to transfer in. Financial aid and student service offices are always intimidating in person but in the fall of 2020, I took the leap of faith and applied online. There was less anxiety since it was online, and I was shocked that everyone was so helpful. No one made my questions feel like a burden, even if I asked repetitive questions via email or over the phone.


A person that made my transition impeccably smooth was Ms. Lisa Gardner. I owe my peace of mind during my class sign-up period to her willingness to help me. I remember making a list with all the potential classes to sign-up for but when I was able to schedule a phone call with Ms. Lisa Gardner, I quickly came to the realization that I had been looking at the wrong semester for the classes I had in mind. She never made me feel out of place, but rather gave me ample time to process and look through my Ferris transfer checklist.


This semester, I wanted to be more active in my community, and decided to participate in an information-gathering session. Although I was hesitant because it was held online, I firmly believe those that attended had the correct intentions. Several suggestions were mentioned, and I felt like I was a part of something. Not just an online student navigating through her classes. It makes me feel validated as a community college student, because some of those suggestions will be taken into consideration. I am hopeful to see what changes the college can make before I transfer.


In conclusion, all the experiences above have helped build a solid foundation for my continued studies at Montcalm Community College. I don’t think I could have found a better fit!


Annabel Maag 



Something I have learned from being at Montcalm Community College is giving others and myself some grace. In doing so, I feel a greater need to be patient with others and remind myself that each small chaotic moment has only a slight impact on my life. I believe that these short moments are used to test our patients. Our reactions to these moments are determiners of the amount of grace we give to each other and more importantly, ourselves. During last fall semester and this spring semester, I feel as though I have learned to realize the moments that go by and more aware of how I react. Overall, I feel that I have learned how to grow as a young individual and how to become the best version of myself. Even though the world and our nation are in a different functioning state, the reason I am at MCC is still the same as it was before. I am here to test my academic abilities, pursue higher education, and find a career path that I love.




Dreamin's Free Essay Contest is supported by the MCC Foundation via the Mater Family and the Dream Book program is supported by MCC Student Services.

Michelle Gibson