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Matthew Robles

#249 Matthew Robles, Class of 2008, Staff
(AA in Liberal Arts Adjunct Faculty - Geology and Natural Resources)

College of the Desert was instrumental in getting me to where I am today; but, to illustrate this I must go back approximately 22 years.

I was not a great student in high school. I was an average student who earned B’s and C’s and primarily focused on sports. This lack of interest in education carried over to my first attempt at higher learning immediately following high school. My interests at the time were purely athletic and no particular subject, let alone science, grabbed my interest; in less then two years at university I dropped out. The following ten years were filled with a variety of jobs. These jobs fulfilled their purpose, providing for my family and me; however, I never felt fully satisfied in these positions.

In 2006, after realizing a love for the science of geology, I decided that I would return to school and earn my geology degree. After making this decision I immediately realized that at 30 years old, with a full time job and a family, this endeavor would not be easy. In addition, I still needed to finish most of my general education classes. Balancing work, family and school was a difficult task; however, I also understood that College of the Desert would be instrumental in my transition back to school and on my eventual transfer to CSUSB for my Geology degree.

Returning to school, unlike before, I excelled in all of the subjects I once approached apathetically. Things were different. Not only had my approach to education changed, but I developed the utmost respect for the process of learning and began to admire those individuals, the professors, who were fostering intellectual progress. The professors at College of the Desert were encouraging and inspiring throughout my studies. In fact it was my geology professor, an adjunct, who first inspired me to consider teaching at the community college level. As I was the only student in his class going on to pursue geology as a degree, he would spend extra time after class with me in order to expand on some of the more important topics of the subject. This dedication meant a lot then and still influences my current approach to teaching.

Today, after completing my BS in Geology from CSU San Bernardino in 2010 and my MS in Geology from UC Riverside in 2012, things have come full circle. In addition to being an adjunct faculty member at two Southern California colleges, I am an adjunct faculty member in the geology department here at College of the Desert. It is sometimes surreal to think that I am teaching in the very same classroom that, approximately eight years ago, I once was a student. In this position I am able to bring not only my own life experience, but also the experience I gained as a student at College of the Desert. This insight allows me to foster better relationships with my students and build rapport resulting in more engaging instruction and enables me to continue the cycle of inspiration that was so instrumental to my success as a student.

By serving as an example of what an education from College of the Desert can provide, I am able to encourage our students as they proceed on a path to their own education goals - In a way I am our students and these students are me.