Grads Look Forward to Next Steps

RP Staff Report

Editor’s Note: Richmond Pulse asked recent Contra Costa College graduates what the achievement — and the journey — meant to them. (These quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.)

“Finally moving onto the next step in my life, as far as my education is concerned. Thankfully, I had a lot of family and professors’ support to get my degree. At times, I didn’t think this journey was worth it because there was a lot of hard work involved. I didn’t think I was going to finish. Being an English major, there are a lot of requirements. There were times I lost motivation, but my family and the impactful professors I had helped me to keep pushing forward. I’m ready for the summer, so I can relax, volunteer in the community, and get involved with more integrated clubs.”

Janice Rodriguez, 23

“I have accomplished a milestone. It took hard work, self-control, and learning time management. I just had to keep my focus through this journey so I didn’t stray from my goals and visions. Being a sociology major has definitely came with a lot of responsibilities and dedication.” 

— Wendy Guido, 24

 “This journey took super long, longer then I think was necessary. It took me 7 years to get here and finally say I’m done. I am earning my degree in nursing. The next step for me is to take the board exam to become a certified nurse. This means all my hard work and dedication is paying off. I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to see the day that I would be finished and be able to move onto the next step in my career.”

— Lauren Snowden, 27

 “This journey was a very long and tiring one. This is a big weight off my shoulders, now that I can move on. It was a long hard road to get here. To be a nursing major, takes a special type of person and a lot of dedication. You have to have passion to want to get into this career. If you’re not careful, you can lose motivation quickly. There were times I just wanted to give up, but I am glad I stuck with it. If I didn’t keep my motivation then I wouldn’t be here right now to say I’m finally done and can move to the next level in this career. I will be taking the board exam next to become a certified nurse.” 

— Melissa Flores, 29

“I have finally accomplished one of my goals in life: getting my degree. This journey was a huge challenge. Being a single mother with a variety of challenges with my kid’s health made it hard for me to push through and keep my focus on school. I had challenges with language barriers, as I don’t speak fluent English. I have dealt with financial issues, as well as being homeless, but I still kept motivated to stay in school. Culinary arts takes a lot of precision, and I have a lot of passion for cooking and baking. I may come back here just to finish the whole program because I love it so much. I was blessed with the scholarship through the culinary arts program to study in Italy this summer. I leave the day after graduation. I can’t wait.” 

— Claudia Villalpando, 43

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