Support Services and Resources Make College Possible
Minneapolis College chemistry student Christian King recognizes many small pieces need to come together for someone to be successful in college. Whether it’s simply acclimating to a new collegiate experience or balancing coursework alongside working, parenting, housing instability, financial insecurities, or food deficiencies, it takes a strong system of support to meet the comprehensive needs of students.
King describes himself as reachable, open-minded, interested in learning about people, and someone who tries his best to assist his student colleagues from his position within Minneapolis College’s Student Support Services. “Whether one of our students is seeking stable housing, affordable child care, food assistance, or support related to myriad other basic needs, the goal of the Center is to connect students with supportive community networks, resources, and provide opportunities to ease obstacles that interfere with their success,” said King who prides himself on never leaving a student he’s working alongside until they have an answer. “Whenever a student visits the Student Support Services to access resources, they leave with a resolution or have taken a step forward toward ensuring school will be slightly less stressful.”
Facing Personal Hardship
King has aspired to be a veterinarian since he could talk. Directly out of high school in 2015, he attended St. Cloud State University, dropping out after one semester due to affordability. The student loan weighed heavy as he sought alternatives. The few years following were extremely challenging and he found himself accruing debt and facing homelessness, ultimately living in his 2015 Chevy Sonic. “It was difficult navigating everything on my own and I had no stability without food and a safe place to sleep,” said King who recalls many sleepless nights. “It’s difficult to understand what it’s like to need support until you’re in the position of need. I understand on a very personal level what it’s like to be in crisis.”
Throughout his years of hardship, the idea of college was always present. In January 2022, he attended a 1Stop event at Minneapolis College where he applied to the College, registered for classes, obtained assistance completing the FAFSA and financial aid applications, and more. He is now pursuing an Associate of Science degree in Chemistry, expecting to graduate in the spring of 2024. “I’ve learned a great deal in life and appreciate being in a diverse school packed with resources,” said King, who relies on food supports at the College when he has been unable to pay larger than expected bills that surface from time to time. “If you cut resources, you cut opportunities for students who rely on them to make college a possibility.”
King takes pride in sharing what he’s learned with his student colleagues from his position in Student Support Services and in his role on the Student Senate. Above all, he doesn’t want other people to experience the hardships he did. “My message to my peers is not to be afraid, embarrassed, or ashamed to access resources. We are more than willing to help when you reach out to us and if the resource exists, we will find it,” said King who has found himself laughing and crying alongside his peers.
Focused forward, King recently accepted a student worker position within the Board of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating from Minneapolis College, he aspires to continue his path to becoming a vet and plans to pursue his bachelor’s at Tuskegee University in Alabama and complete his graduate studies at St. George’s University in Grenada.