Rebecca Roberts’ journey to Mesa Community College started earlier than most students, right in the MCC Children’s Center while her mother was pursuing her nursing degree. Fifteen years later, she is about to graduate with her associate’s degree and transfer to Arizona State University to continue her studies of secondary education and biological sciences.
An Arizonan all her life, Roberts was born in Chandler and raised in Apache Junction. But there was something unconventional about Roberts, she wasn’t the typical college student. She only stayed in the Mesa public school system half-way through first grade. Her parents, feeling she wasn’t being challenged enough, decided to home-school Roberts along with her older brother. When she was in high school, her parents decided to supplement her advancing knowledge and enroll her at MCC at the age of 14.
Roberts felt quite a bit of trepidation going into college.
“I felt a little nervous socially,” Roberts said. “There are a lot of expectations of being younger and home taught. You’re like a little Einstein.”
Growing up, Roberts aspired to many things, from running a bakery to being a dental assistant, veterinarian and more. But in the end, after figuring out what she wanted, it always came back to one thing: teaching.
“I always came back to teaching,” Roberts said. “It is something I was meant to do.”
She quickly quieted any doubts she had by completing her courses with straight A's. In addition to her full slate of classes, Roberts got involved on campus and in the community. She credits her enrichment teacher, Mrs. Pittman at Eagle Ridge, for teaching her to have discipline and a strong work ethic.
Roberts got plugged in with the student honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, in October 2015. She started attending meetings, became an officer and currently holds the title of Campus Event Officer.
“I came into it naturally,” Roberts said. “I’ve been a big planner all my life. I used to have these grand birthday parties that were in January ,and I started planning for them in October.”
Additionally, Roberts shares her time with the Arizona Museum of Natural History. She volunteers a few hours a week in the gallery and fossil department.
“If you’re not giving back to your community, you’re not really serving,” Roberts said.
She encourages anyone on the fence about college not to go to school just for the education but for the experience.
“There are a lot of benefits of going to school beyond just getting your degree,” she said. “It’s connections to jobs and people than can be a positive influence on your life. You get opportunities to experience things you wouldn’t normally get outside of college.”
By taking classes at MCC, Roberts ultimately discovered what she’s wanted to do with her life. She challenges people who are not seeking a college degree to pursue trade certifications to improve their craft.
“Community college is a wonderful place to explore,” Roberts said.