Category Archives: General

She’s doing it. So can you.

deannaFear and its BFF, Doubt, are the two main reasons adult learners cite when asked about returning to school to seek a college education.

Meet Deanna Cannon, a first-semester student at Parkland who has had to overcome many doubts and fears along the way to becoming a college student. Deanna graciously agreed to take a moment to answer some of my questions about her early experiences here.

Tony:  What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a returning student?
Deanna:  Time management–I’ve had to learn how to balance school and work.

Tony:  What’s been most surprising about returning to school?
Deanna: That I’ve done as well as I have, to be honest. I think that as an adult learner, I don’t have any test anxiety. I’m more self-confident. Life experience has taught me how I learn best.

Tony: Tell me what you see as an advantage of being an adult learner.
Deanna: As an adult learner, I don’t worry about the social aspects of school. I’m focusing on the books, not the party!

Tony: What advice would you give to other adults as they’re beginning?
Deanna: Don’t discount yourself because of your age. I don’t have one particular thing that I’m focused on. Don’t limit yourself to possibilities. You don’t HAVE to finish a two-year program in two years, and this opens up other potential pathways.

Tony: Is there anything else that you would like to add in closing?
Deanna: As an adult, I’m not afraid to use resources that are available. I’m no longer worried about being labeled ‘stupid’ if I ask for help. I know that I don’t have to do this by myself.

You don’t have to go it alone, either. Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center can help you find the courage and resources you need to take a powerful step in your career and life journey. Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: 217/351-2462  or Or just stop by U233 and say hi.

How Clubs, Orgs AMP Up Your Student XP


Hey guys! I’m Paige and I am majoring in communication here at Parkland. Have you ever thought about joining an organization or club at Parkland? Starting college, I never thought I would join any club or organization, but here I am.

I saw ads for “AMP” hanging all over Parkland, I but never thought about joining until it was brought up in one of my classes. Then all of a sudden, AMP sparked my interest.

AMP is a student-driven public relations firm, where we work as a team to do promotional work for clients. One thing that really made me want to pursue AMP was that I get to work with graphic designers, advertisers, and general education students. Knowing that I get to work with a wide variety of people with all different majors made me apply for AMP with full force. It is like working in a real-world firm.

Once I applied and got a position at AMP, the coordinators worked with my schedule and now I’m there two days a week working on projects for clients. I have already taken so much from this experience. I have learned about some do’s and don’ts of graphic design (something I knew nothing about before), learned how to compose a strategic plan, and right now I’m in the midst of learning to make a website.

All of these things will help me in my career once I am done at Parkland.

So, I guess what I’m trying to get at here is to give organizations and clubs a chance at Parkland. Don’t just pass by those signs in the hallway;  take the time to look at them and actually consider joining one of them!

Welcome to the MOOC

As many of you know, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are becoming quite popular as a new way for people to learn. We thought we might try a smaller version of some MOOCs here at Parkland College, but in a shorter, more quickly digested form. We also thought it would be a good idea to call these Mini-MOOCs. Not surprisingly, someone else thought that too and already took that catchy little name. So, for the sake of not stealing from others, we will call ours…I don’t know, Micro-MOOCs, Microscopic-MOOCs?

How about you just call it what you want for now.

In our first edition, we get an intelligent and entertaining look at a scene from the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest. If you have seen the movie, this is an awesome companion piece. If you haven’t seen the movie, this short lecture will probably make you want to watch it. Either way, it’s some fascinating insight into filmmaking.

This particular scene involves a conversation, a shooting, and a child who’s tired of hearing gun shots all the darned time. We’ll let Parkland College instructor Matt Hurt explain the rest.

Introduction to Aviation

No, don’t worry; this isn’t a post filled with technical jargon on aviation. Since Parkland has taken over the Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois, and now launched this blog, I thought I might bring the world of pilot training a little closer to home for the Average Joe–or Jane. I’ll start with a bit of my background.

Sybil Phillips, Director and Chief Pilot of the Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois
Sybil Phillips, Director and Chief Pilot of the Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois

Why did I become a pilot? As a kid, I remember walking through the pasture on the farm where I grew up and when I heard an airplane fly overhead, I wondered about two things. What does the world look like from the pilot’s perspective? Where is that airplane going?

I thought that learning to be a pilot would require skills that were beyond my ability and would remain a dream. But then my sister took an aviation class and I thought, “if she can do it, so can I.”

Fast forward to college when I enrolled in Aviation 101 at the University of Illinois. I was hooked. I get to see the world from the pilot’s perspective now and it is really cool. I love the challenge of flying an airplane with precision and finesse because there’s always room for improvement.

I’ve learned lessons that not only apply to the flight environment but also translate to everyday life. Pilots develop self-confidence as a result of exercising judgment and making decisions in an environment which is sometimes tense. We learn to set priorities and communicate clearly under pressure. Aviators are disciplined and eager to assume responsibility. Deep down, we are all control freaks. But we have to be in order to operate safely.

Where did flying take me? I became a flight instructor and eventually became the Chief Pilot and every day I get to help others realize their dream of becoming a pilot. I work with great people and have gotten to know hundreds of pilots who fly all over the world. As corny as it sounds, I am living the dream.

What about you? Is aviation part of your dream? Visit our web page to learn more about our programs, and/or leave a comment below with questions you have about becoming a pilot.

Finishing high school early? Consider your options

In my last six years as director of Admissions and Records at Parkland College, I’ve noticed that more and more students are earning enough credits to graduate from high school a semester early.  In my opinion, there are some good reasons to stay in school for that final spring semester: Enjoy the end of your high school career. Go to prom. Continue to study for free.

But if your mind is made up, consider enrolling in a Parkland course or two for the spring semester. Even if you plan to study elsewhere the following fall, you can get a jump start on general education requirements at Parkland during spring 2015.

Instruction for spring semester begins January 12, but you need to be registered for class and have your books and tuition paid for before December 16. That means it would be smart to apply now for both admission to the college and for your federal financial aid. Have all of your spring enrollment business out of the way so you can enjoy the holidays.

If you wait until after the holidays, the last day to register for classes that start January 12 will be January 6, and the college doesn’t reopen from the holidays until January 5! So, although it may be possible to get registered in time, if you haven’t already covered assessment for math, English, and reading and completed orientation, that’s a headache you don’t need.

We also have a significant set of 13-week classes that start February 2. The last day to register and pay for those classes is January 27.

Call me or one of our admissions advisors at 217/351-2482 for assistance in getting started with the enrollment process. It’s not too early to do that if you’re thinking about enrolling for spring 2015, summer 2015, or even fall 2015. Questions? Please post them below.