Seth Gardner, Michael Jastrzebski use the 'buddy system' all the way to graduation
December 08, 2017
It's graduation time once again — throughout December, Tri-C Trending will highlight selected graduates from the Cuyahoga Community College fall class of 2017. Congratulations to all our upcoming grads!
Friends who study together graduate together.
That’s the secret to success for Seth Gardner and Michael Jastrzebski, both of whom will graduate in December with associate of applied business degrees in networking software.
Since starting at Tri-C in fall 2015, Gardner, 20, and Jastrzebski, 21, have taken all of the same classes — an arrangement that benefits them both in and out of the classroom.
“If I have an issue with classwork, I just ask Seth — and vice versa,” said Jastrzebski. “It’s nice to be able to help a friend, and it gives me confidence in return.”
“Having someone there to motivate me really makes a difference,” added Gardner. “We drive together every day, too, and knowing that I’m accountable for getting both of us to school on time helps get me out of bed every morning.”
The two met as seventh-graders at Garfield Heights Middle School and bonded over a shared interest in computers. During their junior and senior years in high school, they spent half of each day studying networking at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center.
Soon after graduation, Gardner learned about Tri-C’s networking software program and convinced his friend to enroll along with him.
“After considering the money we’d save, how close the campuses are to home and all the other benefits Tri-C offers, the choice became obvious,” he said.
Both Gardner and Jastrzebski will complete their associate degrees, along with certificates in computer maintenance technology, just two years after starting classes. In spring 2018, they will each receive a second associate degree and a Cisco certification.
“It’s all about time management,” said Jastrzebski. “Balancing a job with school isn’t easy, but it can be done. If you do the work, you’re almost guaranteed to pass your classes.”
Gardner and Jastrzebski will transfer to Cleveland State University after graduation to pursue degrees in computer information systems. Their ultimate goal is to become network administrators.
From adolescents tinkering with their home computers to college graduates preparing for rewarding careers, these two friends have supported one another through it all.
“I always thought earning a degree would be really hard,” said Gardner. “But having my best friend go through it with me made things so much easier.”