James Tillman Cockerham

My journey in post-secondary education began at the age of twenty-three. I graduated from high school six years earlier and set out to make a name for myself as a musician. As I grew older, my priorities changed, and I found myself wanting to be a force for good in my community. I searched my heart and knew that I had to study medicine.

I faced an uphill battle: I was older than the average college freshman, I never took the SATs, and my grades in high school were good but not exceptional. Surry Community College offered me the chance to be the kind of student that I should have been all along. When I arrived two years ago, I felt like a train without a track, driven to succeed but without a clear understanding of how to achieve my professional goals. I soon realized the advantages of attending a great community college: thanks to small class sizes and passionate instructors, I felt like every member of the Surry family was personally invested in my success. They helped me become the student I am today, months from graduation and ready to take the next step toward becoming a physician.