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MC Spotlight: Crystal Krages

Crystal Krages

Student Spotlight
As a senior in high school, Crystal Krages never imagined that she would be able go to college – much less debt-free.

Some people simply dream of success, while others like Crystal Krages, a Metropolitan College participant and first-generation college student, works third shift at UPS to make success a reality. Crystal Krages earned her Associates in Arts degree debt-free at Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) in August 2013. She is currently attending the University of Louisville’s (UofL) Kent School of Social Work where she has successful maintained a 3.978 cumulative GPA; she will graduate debt-free from UofL with her Bachelor of Science in Social Work in May 2016.

As a senior in high school, Crystal Krages never imagined that she would be able go to college – much less debt-free. Is it really possible to graduate from college debt-free? Well … if you are a Metropolitan College participant, the answer is – YES!  

Metropolitan College is a Kentucky partnership between UPS, the University of Louisville (UofL) and Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC). Participating students work third shift at UPS to get full-time undergraduate tuition paid to UofL or JCTC as well as book reimbursement, bonuses and other benefits.  As of Fall 2015, and since the program’s inception, 4,317 students (participated in MC for at least one semester) have earned 6,828 credentials (certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters or graduate degrees).

Metropolitan College understands that often times working third shift can be difficult - but difficult does not mean impossible. It simply means that you have to work hard, be disciplined, and remind yourself that you are making your dreams come true one package at a time. 

I highly recommend the Metropolitan College program to anyone who is interested in attending college and graduating debt free!

Crystal Krages has worked at UPS as a package handler for almost four years now. After she graduates with her bachelor’s degree in May 2016, she plans to get a full-time job in her career field. Krages admits that she has struggled with difficult relationships, anxiety, procrastination, and lack of adequate sleep. However, she eventually got rid of what she described as the “toxic people “in her life and she managed her time better by planning ahead and made to-do lists, which included and getting proper rest. Whenever she has free time, she enjoys hiking outdoors in warm weather, bowling, and spending time with her friends, family, and boyfriend.

“I followed my dreams of what I wanted to do. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity, support, financial help, and skills I have gained from this program. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in attending college and graduating debt free!” said Krages.

In addition to working third shift at UPS, Krages is completing a 16+ hours a week practicum internship at Family Scholar House, a social service agency that gives single parent college students the support they need to get a college degree and become self-sufficient. 

All Metropolitan College participants are required to participate in the Career and Academic Program Plan (CAPP) in which students develop customized action plans to strengthen their academic and career goals.  Specifically, students will complete a resume (30 credits), review and plan for experiential learning opportunities (60 credits) and participate in a mock interview (90 credits).  Students receive support and resources through individualized coaching with a MC Student Development Counselor throughout each of these steps.

Krages had this to say about her internship with the Family Scholar House:

I have learned so much from my practicum internship experience at the Family Scholar House, like how to apply social work skills, but even more so from the participants with whom I work. They keep me motivated because I see how hard they work to keep good grades, meet the requirements to stay compliant in the program, while also being a single parent.

Krages has also volunteered at Northeast Christian Church for the Prom Project, which provides free dresses and accessories to low income girls so they can attend prom. Krages has earned membership into the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society and was recently offered membership to the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement at the University of Louisville. She is also an active member of the National Association of Social Workers. 

Congratulations to Crystal Krages on being the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding UofL Metropolitan College Student Award.

Krages encourages all Metropolitan College participants to get involved in the community and take advantage of experiential learning opportunities to gain career direction. Metropolitan College fully understands that participants are juggling a variety of obligations and time constraints, but it’s a myth to think that there is no time to volunteer because it takes too much time. While there are some volunteer roles that require a lot of time, there are many volunteer positions where you can devote as little as one hour a week. “Experiencing new things is the first step to finding your own way in the professional world. Build experience and develop new skills that will eventually lead you to where you are meant to be!” said Krages.

Krages was the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding UofL Metropolitan College Student Award. She will be recognized at the University of Louisville’s annual awards ceremony on April 19, 2016.    

Krages contributes her incredible success to her parents. “I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for their continued support and praise,” said Krages. 

Krages also contributes her success to the Metropolitan College staff:

My meetings with Metropolitan College staff have been helpful for me to gain professional skills, especially the mock interview and resume assistance, which ultimately helped me when applying for my practicum internship at Family Scholar House and will continue to help me in the future when applying for jobs.

Krages advice to current and incoming Metropolitan college participants is to meet frequently with the Metropolitan College staff and to fulfill their CAPP requirements. “Use the program to your benefit, there are so many professional skills to learn that will help later in your professional life,” said Krages. 

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

She concluded by sharing her favorite quote:  "Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will." Remember, some people dream of success, and others like Crystal Krages, a Metropolitan College participant and first-generation college student, work third shift at UPS make success a reality. Today is the perfect day to start “working” towards your dreams. 

The End

Metropolitan College is looking for current and former Metropolitan College participants to spotlight! If you know of someone, please contact Renecia Griffie Davis, Student Development Counselor at renecia.davis@kctcs.edu or 502-213-4521.

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