Clair Fink went away — far away — to college right after she graduated from high school. But after one year, she realized it was not the experience she expected. With the financial burden of attending an out-of-state university weighing heavy on her mind, the Zanesville resident returned home and transferred to Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). Now she’s in her final semester of the digital media design technology program.
Fink’s experience at COTC has been quite different from the university experience, thanks in large part to the people she has met. COTC has a student body that is eclectic, ranging from high school seniors to senior citizens from all over central Ohio. The wide range of lived experiences among students brings a multitude of perspectives, both in design and in life, to the classroom.
“There’s a lady that had a career in the army for 20 years. She’s been to Germany and all over Europe, so she had a deep knowledge of architecture from the different cultures,” she said. “There is another student that is a mom. She never had the opportunity to go to college right out of high school. It feels like having a guiding hand, someone that makes you feel comfortable.”
Comfort. It’s something that Fink mentions a lot as distinctive to COTC.
“I went to a small high school, so having a small classroom size made me feel more comfortable. That also gives the professors more time to get to know you and create a more personalized learning experience,” said Fink. She added that she has received more attention to develop and home in on certain skills.
“Since it’s such a small community, everyone is invested in your learning. You get a lot more opportunity to do projects that are in the community. Right now we’re doing the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival t-shirt. Last fall we got to work with the American Ceramic Society to do a mascot.”
As part of her final semester, Fink is participating in a required internship for the Digital Media Practicum course. She is applying her graphic design skills in a supervised work experience with Storied Rivals Sports Media, LLC.
“They do sports media for local high school sports teams. It’s so fun,” explained Fink. “Every team that does a season video gets a curated video. I’m working on creating the DVD faces. Everyone gets personalized DVDs.”
Fink will graduate in May with an associate degree. She will pass the baton to her sister, who will take her own place on campus next fall to mark the continuation of a family affinity for the college.