May 17, 2024

Patrick Ives enrolled at Great Bay Community College because it was convenient and cost effective.

“It was close to where I was living and it was affordable,” said Ives, 20, of Somersworth, who is studying engineering science and expects to transfer to a four-year school after graduating from Great Bay with an associate degree in the fall.

“The economic benefits of starting my college education at Great Bay compared to a four-year university were important to me. I didn’t want to rack up a bunch of debt and have to worry about that while learning,” he said. “Going to Great Bay has allowed me to affordably pursue my degree while also making decisions about where I want to work after I finish my education.”

Ives is currently lining up a paid summer internship with a competitive video gaming company, an area of passion. He hopes to make his living as a software engineer, a goal he established in high school when he built a robot and programmed it to follow a line that included a series of stops.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the process. It was difficult, but the excitement I felt once I got everything to work was unmatched,” he said. “This was a huge catalyst in my decision to pursue software engineering and engineering in general. I enjoy the process of problem-solving and figuring out how things work.”

Enrolling at Great Bay was an intentional decision for Ives, who identified the college as a pathway to a four-year degree and where he could go to school full time while working part time – and maintaining a life outside of school and work. But he has received much more from Great Bay than he expected, both in regard to the quality of his education and the community he has enjoyed.

“I’ve made a decent number of new friends since I enrolled, and I found out that if you have different classes with a couple of classmates, you end up talking and helping each other out,” he said. “The camaraderie I felt in the smaller classroom setting was also great.”

In addition to his fellow students, Ives also appreciates the support of his professors. “I have found the professors very helpful during classes and willing to help during school hours and during their free time. My advisors and professors have been helpful not only as teachers but also by giving me guidance and helping me narrow down what I want to do in the future.”

At a time when he was uncertain if he wanted to continue with his education, Ives met with a professor, who was also his advisor, to discuss his future. “He was able to steer me in a job direction that sounded appealing to me, as well as giving me some ideas of other jobs for the future.”

He advises potential students to enroll at Great Bay and “go for it. Get out of your comfort zone a little bit. Great Bay offers all kinds of interesting activities year-round that are fun and fulfilling if you decide to partake in them. You might not know anyone in the activity, but after you attend, you may walk out with a couple new friends or people you can depend on. Life is all about putting yourself out there and gaining new friends and experiences along the way.”