Peter Vleck, 21, South Puget Sound Community College Alumni, claims your two years here at SPSCC can have an have an incredible impact on the rest of your college career. Vleck shares his personal success and experiences at SPSCC beginning in fall 2009 to spring 2011.
Annelise Tuttle: When did you begin SPSCC?
Peter Vleck: I was attending SPSCC after high school, at a point when I lacked academic direction and had no plans for college. I ended up signing up for classes one week before fall quarter started, and it rekindled my passion for learning.
AT: What did you learn the most at SPSCC?
PV: I learned that I actually could succeed in school. SPSCC provided a much needed change in academic setting, one in which I was able to thrive. I went from being a below average, underachieving student in high school to being on the president’s or vice president’s list every semester with the exception of my first. My experiences at SPSCC gave me the confidence that I could pursue, and succeed in, a more rigorous academic path.
AT: Why did you choose SPSCC?
PV: Choosing SPSCC was initially purely out of convenience: I lived 10 minutes away. I knew very little about the school, and had rather low expectations. Looking back after almost a full year at UPS, I am surprised at how many of the instructors at SPSCC rival or outperform professors I have had at UPS.
AT: Who were the most influential professors to you and why?
PV: Nicholas Alforde and Patrick Chapman. The first day I was in Alforde’s class I knew that I wanted to try to teach history at the college level. I had always had a passion for history, but after just one hour with him, I knew that I wanted to do exactly what he did. He made me actually look forward to attending class every day. Chapman pushed me harder than any instructor that I had had previously, and was amazingly engaging as a lecturer. Chapman was able to pack more information into a 50 minute lecture than any professor I have had before or since, and was able to do so without making it seem like a task.
AT: How did SPSCC help you with your education plan?
PV: SPSCC gave me the opening I needed into higher level academia. My two years at SPSCC, and especially the summer I spent in Scotland, helped me solidify what I wanted to do with my life, both academically and professionally.
AT: Can you explain your experience in Scotland further?
PV: When I heard from Patrick Chapman that Nick Alforde would be taking a group to Glasgow to study strictly Scottish history, I knew I had to be in that class. This trip kindled a keener interest in my own family history, as well as in the history of Scotland in general. I made lifelong friends while I was there, and truly had a life altering educational and cultural experience.
AT: What are you doing currently in your academic plan?
PV: I am currently finishing up my junior year at the University of Puget Sound as a history major and am currently focusing on military and diplomatic history, with emphases in the Pacific Theater of World War II, and modern state conflict models. I walked on to join the football team (Go Loggers!) in the fall, but I had to stop playing after a spinal injury.
AT: When do you graduate?
PV: I am on track to graduate in spring of 2013, with 4 semesters of overloaded courses.
AT: What advice would you give to students planning to transfer to a four-year?
PV: Explore your options very thoroughly. I never imagined receiving the scholarship offer that I did from UPS. Strong performance during your time at SPSCC, can have a substantial impact on the remainder of your college career. Not only will it open the door for you to get into very good schools, but also receive quite generous financial aid packages, making otherwise pricey schools significantly more affordable. The two years you spend at SPSCC can easily save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road if you are able to turn your time there into a scholarship, which is easier than you might think.