Trever Smith was an average student at Harrison High School. In fact, his GPA put him solidly in the middle of his 120-person graduating class. Neither of his parents went to college, and after high school, he didn't have a firm idea of what he wanted out of life or even what he was interested in academically.
He chose MMCC to get some perspective and confidence. He also wanted to go to a school where he could get individualized support to succeed. Trever worked hard at MMCC, devoting himself to classes and learning about the things that interested him. He went the extra mile, visiting instructors during their office hours and eventually tutoring in the college's math center. Ultimately, his hard work paid off, and he earned distinction by being on the All-Michigan Academic Team. Trever also got involved in the college's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society, and he left MMCC with a 3.8 GPA.
"I took everything one step at a time," says Trever. "I'd be nervous about one class, and then I'd get through it, be intimidated by the next, and I'd get through that one too. My instructors at Mid were always there to help and encourage me. When I was finally ready to leave, I started getting all of these recruitment emails from universities who wanted me to check them out."
One of the universities that pursued Trever was Cornell. Trever figured that it was worth a try, sent in his application, and found out in 2009 that he'd been accepted. He transferred 60 college credits from MMCC and graduated from Cornell two years later.
"Cornell was hard. I mean, really, really hard," noted Trever. "The environment was very different than at MMCC where everyone collaborated and worked together. Students at Cornell were competitive—they worked alone. But, I found this core group of other community college transfer students. We all came in with the same attitude: you teach me, and I'll teach you, and we'll all be better for it."
With that attitude and a lot of hard work, Trever not only graduated from Cornell, but he plans to continue his education, by pursuing a PhD.
"One thing that I've learned about choosing your educational path," says Trever, "is that two plus two equals four everywhere that you go. The difference really lies in the people who you find along the way that bring out the best in you."