It’s not often that students are presented with an opportunity to help shape the future of their college. That’s why when Lukas Mackenzie, 19, was recommended by James Matheney, the college’s police chief, to become involved with Macomb’s Strategic Plan 2025, he jumped at the chance.
“Having the student perspective, I think, is important,” says Mackenzie. “Students are the ones that go to the classes, and they have more of a different perspective on things.”
Mackenzie’s role with the strategic planning process is just one component of what he describes as “the busiest semester I’ve had in my whole school experience.” In addition to his coursework during winter 2019, he also plays football and soccer, volunteers with Gleaner’s Community Food Bank and Lighthouse Outreach Center, and has been serving as a work-study for the College Police Department since November.
“I’m not complaining about any of it,” says Mackenzie. “I really enjoy myself every day. I wake up and feel good about myself.”
After graduating from Lake Shore High School in 2017, Mackenzie came to Macomb to complete his general education requirements and figure out what he wanted to do with his life.
“If you’re not certain on a major like I was, Macomb is the perfect place to start,” says Mackenzie. “The counselors would help you out, give you options.”
Mackenzie encourages new Macomb students to take advantage of all the resources the college has to offer. Speak with the tutors at the Learning Centers and meet with faculty during their office hours. They can break down difficult concepts and put them into simpler terms.
“It’s very obvious, in my opinion, with me and my peers,” says Mackenzie, “that they want you to succeed.”
Beyond that, Mackenzie suggests that students should “go with the flow” and avoid feeling rushed. It’s the same advice he would give to his three brothers. His oldest sibling has taken classes at Macomb, and another will be attending in the fall.
“I feel like just finding your way in life would be a big thing,” says Mackenzie. “And, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Mackenzie’s sights are currently set on a career in nursing, following in his mother’s footsteps in the health care profession (she works as a respiratory therapist for Children’s Hospital of Michigan, in Detroit). His goal is to graduate in May, 2020 and transfer to the University of Michigan to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Long term, he hopes to eventually settle into an executive position, such as nursing manager.
For now, Mackenzie is perfectly content living at home, saving on tuition and setting money aside for the future. “People are moving out later and later,” he says. “It’s not a bad thing at all.” Conversations with friends he’s made at Macomb have elicited similar responses.
“That’s the kind of mindset that I think people have here,” says Mackenzie. “Coming here, still taking the same classes (as they would at a university), saving money, and still going on about life as any other person.”