Real Story: Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell

CSM Class of 2008, English

CSM graduate Brandon Russell, wearing a suit jacket and smiling at the camera in front of a body of waterI graduated from Chopticon High School in 2005. Six months later my father passed away. With so much change happening in my life, I was happy I had already applied to attend the College of Southern Maryland. Prior to graduating high school, I had thought I wanted to attend college out of the area. But the stability of being at home, surrounded by family, while still being able to pursue a degree at CSM was just what I needed during those trying times.

Originally, I had no idea what major to select, so I went with general studies. CSM’s general studies program helped me home in on my love of English as an area of study. So much is wrapped up in that degree: literature, history, film, communications, and more. What’s more, the career fields open to an English major gave me a range of options after graduation. I have always loved writing, but I knew I needed a solid career choice.

While at CSM, I attended classes at the Leonardtown and La Plata campuses. Leonardtown was conveniently close to home and work, which saved time. La Plata provided that college feel, with a larger campus, cafeteria, and student activity. It was like having the best of both worlds–college experience with students from other areas while also saving time and money because of the location and reasonable tuition. I was working and attending college, both full time. I was able to pay for my education at CSM thanks to the schedule flexibility of being able to work.

After graduating CSM in 2008, I took some time off that turned into several years. Life happens, but with encouragement from family I went back to school. I eventually graduated from University of Maryland, University College (UMUC) with my bachelor's in English. Transferring credits to UMUC from CSM was easy, and I chose the school because of their online degree programs. I was glad CSM had so many partnerships with colleges and universities that made picking a school so much easier. I worked retail for over a decade and the flexibility of earning my degree locally at CSM, and online through UMUC, was extremely important.

Now, I run operations for a local business with offices in four states. In all positions I’ve held, my education has been a key building block. Being able to relate with people, communicate effectively, analyze data, and make informed decisions are all the result of receiving a quality education.

The experiences I had and the people I met at CSM have stayed with me. We always hear about someone’s favorite teacher from elementary school, but there are several I have from CSM as well.

As I look forward to the next chapter in my life–running for local office–I am grateful for the role CSM had in expanding and educating my mind after high school. CSM is so much more than just a “community college,” it truly prepares our youth for the future and offers continuing education for adults of all ages.

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Last updated: 8-22-22
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