By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Early childhood major Molly Duffy is a little more than a semester away from her graduation from Cayuga
Community College. Before she goes, take a minute and “meet” her—if you haven’t done so in person already.
Duffy grew up in Romulus, Seneca County, until age 15. Though she and her family moved away to Indiana, where she graduated from high school in 2008, she returned to the area and selected Cayuga Community College for her education “because it offered a one-year certificate in the program I was interested in, and it made me feel more comfortable about starting school again after so many years.”
Returning to school years after high school intimidates many young adults. In fact, a UCLA study states that only 3% of Americans who pursue higher education do not do so directly after high school. Often, students worry about whether they will keep up with younger students. Or if they will stick with it. But Duffy knew that seeking further education would help her future.
Another reason she selected Cayuga was its cost and approachability.
“It felt very affordable compared to other schools, and someone was always there to answer my questions,” Duffy added.
A place like Cayuga puts the “community” in “community college” compared with larger schools with a low teacher-to-student ratio.
Duffy currently participates in Cayuga’s work study program and works in the admissions office. Finding employment on-campus proved a wise choice for her while she is a student.
“This has been a lifesaver when trying to complete my degree while still working at a job part-time that will work around my class schedule,” Duffy said.
In addition, these roles have helped her gain more experience in the administrative side of the education field. She hopes to obtain more experience in her chosen field this summer before returning in the fall to finish her associate’s degree in early childhood. The 62-credit hour program equips people to work in settings such as childcare, preschool and early childhood education.
After she turns her tassel later in 2023, Duffy hopes to obtain a full-time job in education and continue taking classes online to earn her bachelor’s degree.
Duffy has her sights set on two dream jobs with soaring potential. Someday, she wants to work with young children as a crisis counselor or a play therapist.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for crisis counselors is expected to increase 22% between 2021 and 2031, “much faster than average.” The outlook for play therapists is 27%, “also much faster than average.” Considering the shortages in any career in academia, the Bureau’s projection sounds spot-on.
When not working or pursuing her studies, Duffy enjoys reading, camping and drawing.