Back to school

Isaiah Ewing was a little more than 2 hours into his first day of school at Blackhawk Technical College when he was able to issue his first definitive statement about his new school.

“The food is pretty good,’’ he said as he smiled and munched on a breakfast burrito in the Commons shortly after his first IT Web Software Developer class ended.

Actually, all was good with Ewing, who along with other first year and continuing students hit the hallways and classrooms of Blackhawk Monday for the first day of the 2015-16 school year.

“I was a little nervous coming here,’’ he said. “I was expecting it might be rough, more difficult than I was used to. But everyone seems to be so friendly. People are laid back but still very professional.’’

One indication this was the first day of school? After a summer vacation when the outer reaches of the Central Campus parking lot were usually empty, all the premier spots were grabbed by 10 a.m., meaning students and staff got a healthy hike to the building if they were not early birds.

Another indication? BTC administrators, instructors and staff – maps in hand -- made themselves available in the hallways to help the uninitiated find their way around the building.

Another? There was quite the crowd at the bookstore, where students were stocking up on textbooks and other supplies. And at 10 minutes before the hour, the hallways were congested with students.

And finally?  “Today is pretty good,’’ said Brittney Krueger, a first-year student in the Physical Therapy Assistant program. “I am looking forward to learning how to do things around here, and learning more about physical therapy.’’

Krueger was joined by her friend, Kayleah Wright, who also was here for the Physical Therapy Assistant program.

Wright is a rookie at Blackhawk, but no stranger to postsecondary education. She had attended UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater in the past.

“I’m looking forward to getting into the program,’’ Wright said. “I’m sure I’m going to like it here.’’

That’s the eventual goal, no matter the program. Returning students like Jennifer Busse know this well. She was sitting in the Commons killing some time before catching the BTC Shuttle to the Beloit Center at 11:45.

She is entering her third year in the Early Childhood Education program. “I’m looking forward to working hard and doing better at getting good grades,’’ she said.

She offered one piece of advice to new students. “Don’t procrastinate,’’ she said. “Get started right away on your projects and homework, and get them done on time.’’

Both Busse and Alexander Krueger, another IT Web Software Developer student, recommended that all students familiarize themselves with the services offered at the Student Success Center. 

“I’ve been using the Student Success Center, usually after every class,’’ Krueger said, noting how services offered there have helped him in a variety of classes as well as preparing him for the job market. “It really helps to get professional development.’’

Ewing, the first-year web software student, is looking forward to his own personal professional development. His long range goal is to go to a four-year school like UW-Whitewater and fulfill a dream of becoming a biomedical engineer. In the meantime, he plans on taking advantage of what BTC has to offer.

“I’m really into technology,’’ he said. “When I first took the tour here, I was really impressed with the campus and what it had to offer me. Now, all I want to do is keep improving. It’s been a pretty good first day.’’