I remember saying goodbye to my parents as they departed the Kirkwood Village West parking lot in Cedar Rapids. The only thought that I had at the time was questioning if I was ready to live by myself for the first time. Being alone on the other side of the state only amplified my nerves. One activity that helped shaped my interests going forward was college radio. I’ll get back to radio, but first, you need some background on what led me there.
During my senior year of High School, I was under constant stress about my post-secondary education. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. Being able to complete several college classes through Western Iowa Tech during my senior year was a great advantage. I took everything from arc welding to a web coding class. Even then, no specific career path was piquing my interest. Community college provides a great opportunity for young students to discover their interests. Financially speaking, I was able to graduate from Western Iowa Tech without taking out any loans. According to Forbes, there are now over forty-five million borrowers with loans totaling $1.56 trillion. I’ll be honest that if I didn’t have the employee rebate for Morningside’s tuition I wouldn’t be here.
Looking back, I’m still not sure why I chose to enroll at Kirkwood. At the time, I was just working on completing my general education classes and would go from there. I think I was like any eighteen-year-old college student; I was eager to live on my own for the first time. Throughout particularly the first semester I didn’t enjoy the classes that I was enrolled in. It just felt like I was submitting assignments to check it off the list and to get to the end of the semester.
Being alone for the first time was both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Invigorating because it was my first taste of independence, but terrifying for that same reason. This would be the first time that I would be alone. Well not entirely since I had a family member who lived a stone’s throw from Cedar Rapids in Marion. But other than that, the nearest family I had was over four and a half hours away. For the most part, I was on my own. It was the first time that I had utilities in my name, had a lease in my name, and had to work two jobs on top of a full-time class load. At the time, it was overwhelming. Looking back on it, it was a valuable experience.
While I was at Kirkwood, I was just completing my general education requirements. Things you would expect like algebra, public speaking, and of course an introduction to college class. It wasn’t until my second semester when an area sparked my interest. While I was walking to my algebra class, I noticed a radio station. At the time, I thought that it was unusual to have a radio station in a college. When I peered into the large window into the station there were CD’s scattered everywhere in a disorganized mess. It looked like a bomb went off in the studio.
I reached out to my academic advisor to inquire about the radio station. She put me in contact with the station manager. After meeting with him he offered me a work-study position with KCCK. My responsibilities were pretty basic. I was essentially a production assistant who organized the studio, monitored the social media activity, and other housekeeping tasks. Eventually, I was able to become more involved as the semester progressed. I formed relationships and experiences that I still cherish to this day.
Their radio station is used only as an extra circular activity, not as an option for a major discipline. Because KCCK 88.3 FM is a public station that is licensed to the college, similar to KWIT on the Western Iowa Tech campus. What was intended to be “just a hobby” for students sparked an interest in me. When I returned to Sioux City and enrolled at WITCC, Audio Engineering became my major, my passion, and my career choice.
I had the pleasure of working with some talented students and faculty while at WITCC. The hands-on practical experience was both educational and enjoyable. Being able to be a part of Comet radio was a great stepping stone to what I would eventually do at Siouxland Public Radio and even at Morningside’s own KMSC.