Mick Giera wasn’t sure what to expect when he got to Moraine Valley, but now that he’s getting close to finishing, he’s sure of several things—he’s made some solid friends, had some great professors and all of his classes are transferring.

“I decided on Moraine Valley because it’s just around the block,” Mick said. “When it came to college, I was a little intimidated. Certain members of my family have master’s degrees and some didn’t finish high school. I didn’t know where I was going to fall, so I made the choice to attend Moraine Valley to play it safe. I know people who went away to school and ended up coming to Moraine Valley. They dropped out (of the four-year school) because it was either too hard, they couldn’t afford it, or they didn’t know how to balance work and play,” he said.

By the time Mick was in fifth grade, he knew he wanted a career in music education. His ideal job would be to become oversee a high school band or choir. “My childhood dream? I wanted to be a fire fighter. I wanted to be an archaeologist. I wanted to work in a museum. I wanted to do everything—well, almost everything,” he said. But thanks to several role models in his family, Mick honed his musical skills and soon realized the job for him would be to teach others to play an instrument and sing.

Time management is important to Mick. He waits tables part-time, goes to class, plays the trombone in Moraine Valley’s Jazz Band and Concert Band, and sings in the college’s Chamber Singers. He’s also very involved with music programs at his church, where he recently was asked to start a new chime choir. “I did start one, and indirectly I became the director,” he said. “It consisted of me, my mom, two of my aunts and a friend who owed me a favor.”