Posted on Monday, February 16, 2015


Jason Hee-yun Joo

One of these days, “Jason” Hee-yun Joo hopes to be making the big decisions – not for himself necessarily but for a company with a very large footprint.

He’s planning to earn his stripes in business administration and eventually become the CEO of a global enterprise. If that doesn’t pan out, working as an economist will suit him just fine.

For now, Joo is focusing on his studies at Piedmont Virginia Community College. He plans to transfer to either UVA or JMU once he gets his associate’s degree.

During a recent trip to the state capital for Every Day is Community College Day, Joo described his community college experience thus far as “very pleasant.” But added his first year was, in a word, difficult.

“The financial burden was huge,” he says. The South Korean native was paying out-of-state tuition which, as most people know, can shred financial resources in short order.

But the situation improved dramatically when he was awarded U.S. citizenship.

“As soon as I got financial aid, I became full-time and started to get involved in school.”

Joo is now working part-time while taking a full class load and he knows he’s not alone in that regard.

“Many of the friends I know at PVCC are working part-time as well as going to school. And many of them are living away from their parents so they’re actually paying for their own expenses as well as for school. So, without financial aid or any other government support, it can be really hard for students to go to school.”

Joo is a strong advocate for PVCC and he’s hoping the college will receive favorable consideration from state lawmakers involved in the budget process.

“The space issue has become a huge problem. If you come to PVCC and walk around at peak hours, you will see people actually sitting in the hallway because they didn’t have a seat to study for the classes.”

Joo also had some advice for students who might be overwhelmed by the demands on their schedules.

“Join a few clubs. It doesn’t take much time. I know you’re working, I know you’re getting frustrated by all the homework and classes. But years from now, you’ll be able to look back and say you enjoyed it.”'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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