The Parkland College Blog

Degree Completion Day, February 10 at 10 a.m.

Do you have questions about your graduation status, or want to see how close you are to completing your degree?

Each semester, Parkland hosts Degree Completion Day – this year, join us on Facebook Live at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 to see how close you are to graduation! Admissions staff will assist you with any graduation questions you might have, and Student Life will be available to provide information and answer questions about Commencement, such as how to order your cap and gown, and what to expect during the ceremony. As a reminder, March 2, 2021 is the deadline to turn in your petition to graduate for the spring and summer semesters. Find the petition here.

If you need assistance with registration, visit Counseling and Advising here. If you have further questions about your degree, or need assistance now, contact a Student Records Advisor:

Beth Chepan – last name A-K
Sarah Hartman – last name L-Z

See you on Facebook Live/Zoom on Wednesday, February 10 at 10 a.m.!

If you are a current student, previous student, or one who was recently not approved for graduation, this day is for you. Each semester Parkland holds DEGREE COMPLETION DAY to help students find out everything they need to know about the graduation process. For the convenience of our students, this event will be held on Zoom and streamed on Parkland's official Facebook page. Questions can be answered on Zoom, Facebook chat, or via email. If you have a question about how close you are to completing your degree or for Counseling, or want to know more about Financial Aid, the staff listed below are ready to help you:


Zoom link:


Advising bookings:



Petition to Graduate form:


[Dennis Kaczor, Counseling Services]

Working toward your Parkland College degree or certificate? Do your parents have credits from Parkland but never completed a degree? You ALL could join us for Degree Completion Day, Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union (U building) to find out what's needed to finish.

Degree Completion Day might be an easy way to make your schedule for the rest of your college journey through student planning. Whether you're "so close" to your certificate or new to campus, this event is for you:

  • Counseling Services advisors will be available to check your progress.
  • Financial Aid will be there to let you know if you might qualify for a Pell Grant.
  • Petition to Graduate applications will be available, if you'll earn your degree this spring, summer, or fall.
  • Student Life will be on hand with information about commencement.
  • Refreshments, fun activities, and WPCD-FM live streaming will be part of the fun!

Come on over to the Student Union and learn about the other end of registration. See you there!


[Dennis Kaczor, Counseling Services]


Suicide Loss Survivor: What I've Learned

One survivor shares about living with the anguish and finding help

I’ve learned a few things about suicide and grief since my brother’s death by suicide six years ago, and then after my wife’s closest friend died by suicide two years later.

Losing my brother, Mo, and then Amy, who was also my friend, to suicide, rocked my world and permanently changed me. These were people close to me, whom I’d known and loved for years. How was it that I didn’t see Mo’s despair, or the depths of Amy’s depression? What did I miss? Even though the circumstances surrounding their deaths were quite different, the anguish I experienced from not being able to somehow prevent them from dying was the same. Over and over, I kept thinking that each of their deaths was preventable, and so very unnecessary.

I’ve learned that living with this anguish, on top of the grief, is part of the experience of surviving a loss by suicide. And as with grief, the anguish eases over time, but will re-emerge unexpectedly as though no time has passed and no lessons have been learned.

I’ve learned that suicide still carries a stigma. People will criticize your loved one for being “selfish” or “cowardly” out of bias or ignorance about the causes of suicide. It’s painful to hear these comments, and they make me feel protective of my brother and my friend, even when I have felt intense anger toward them for leaving behind family and friends whose grief will last a lifetime.

I’ve learned that suicide is more common than I had realized. Each time I hear of someone’s death by suicide, I’m particularly concerned for those around him or her who are depressed or who are going through a difficult time because of the “contagion effect.” In this dynamic, suicide becomes a viable option to someone struggling emotionally who had not previously considered taking his or her life.

And, finally, I’ve learned that I am not alone. Being with other survivors of suicide loss has given me strength when I have needed it, has helped me to push through the anguish, and has given me the opportunity to pass on ways in which I have learned to cope and to heal.

Each year, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) offers a program for people who have been impacted by suicide to find comfort, gain insight, and share stories of healing and hope. This program, called the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day (ISOSLD), will be held on Saturday, November 23 from 8:15 to noon at Parkland College in Room U140.

To register, go to This program is free and open to the public (though not recommended for children under 18). For more information, contact: Dennis Cockrum at or 217/353-2254 or Katie Schacht at or 217/373-3824.

Additional information about ISOSLD, suicide prevention, and educational resources can be found at

You can find information on mental health services and treatment in the Champaign County area on the Family Service website,; at; or by calling 211.

Parkland College students have free, confidential counseling services available to them in the Counseling Services office. Please contact Dennis or Katie at the numbers above.

[Marilyn Ryan is a retired counselor from Parkland College.]

National Distance Learning Week: Online Classes, Anyone?

Top reasons you should take an online class; celebrate NDLW Nov. 4–8!

Usually, when you see this headline, you expect to see reasons like "it's more convenient" or "lower costs" or "a more comfortable learning environment." And while all of these are true, here are three other reasons that you should take an online course.

1.  Technology education: "Most, if not all students will be working with “others" sometime in their future careers. To be successful, the use of technology is very important. Taking online courses now at Parkland College will help prepare you to communicate with others using today’s technology, including virtual meetings and collaborating with emails and other social media devices. I highly recommend all my students take at least one online class before you leave Parkland." 

                                                               — Mark Kesler, Parkland business and management instructor.

2.  Cultural diversity. Online courses can be taken by students anywhere in the world. By enrolling in an online course, you get the chance to meet students from other countries. Students benefit mutually from learning about each others' cultures as well as educational and life experiences. Often, you can get a "study abroad" experience without leaving the comfort of your own home.

3.  Career Skill-building. Taking an online class takes discipline, punctuality, and self-motivation; all excellent skills to have in the workforce. Online courses create a solid foundation as you prepare for your next step, whether it's transferring to a four-year institution or starting your career.

So, while online courses are recommended for their quality instruction, transferability, and affordability; they offer so much more than just that for students. Online courses can provide a broad experience that can shape the future of your employment and life goals.

What are you waiting for?  Go ahead...sign up for an online class today! 

***National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) is Nov. 4–8! Three cheers for online learning!***


[Lori Wendt is a learning management system specialist for Professional Development and Instructional Technology at Parkland College.]