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Student Story: Emily B

The reason I chose Central Coast College is because I am desperate to get out of retail. I have been working at the same job for four years and I’m still only making 50 cents above minimum wage. I gave up school so I could work for them, and show them that I really wanted to be a full-time worker. But I kept getting told that I would be next in line to become full-time. They said I had the right attitude to be a supervisor but I wasn’t old or mature enough to be taken seriously, even though I trained most of the employees after me. I applied for another position in the offices with the same company, but I didn’t have enough experience to do accounts payable, and they hired someone from a competitor. My confidence dropped to an all new low.

My dad lost his job and was having a hard time getting a new one because of his age and I needed more income to help my parents out. I waited 6 months, very long months, until I realized they were never going to do it. I broke down, I needed to get another job somewhere else where I felt valued. To feel like you are valued in the workplace is a great feeling, and I only felt that for a short time. It is one of the worst feelings to know that you are stuck and in a situation that you can’t go back to where you were a year before.

I started filling out job applications on Craigslist hoping someone would bite. I was hoping that they were real and I was going somewhere that valued their employees. I applied at dentist offices, commercial construction offices, and a solar company. I did my homework on the solar company so that I could write a really nice email on what I knew about solar power and what I would love to learn about. And they were the only one that was willing to work with me even though I didn’t have any training in an office environment. I had an interview the day before my birthday and nailed that interview. It seemed great, until I started thinking about it more. I would be getting just a tiny bit more pay, and using a ton of gas just to get there and back; breaking even. I was breaking down talking about my life choices with my boyfriend and knowing that I couldn’t take that job. He calmed me down and asked me what other options could I do.

I remembered hearing that phlebotomy is a good career to go into. I always thought I would end up working in a hospital or doctor’s office. I was googling different programs in Monterey County and Central Coast College kept popping up on my searches. I was looking at the programs offered, and requested more information on the school. Ms. Cathy called me the very same day to talk to me about my interest in the phlebotomy courses. She explained that I already had to be a certified phlebotomist to take the recertification program, and there were programs offered at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) to become a phlebotomist. I wasn’t interested in going to MPC because most of their classes would conflict with my work schedule. So Cathy talked to me more about my interests and suggested the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program. I was pretty adamant that I didn’t want to be a nurse, or be anything remotely close to a nurse. Nothing against CNA’s, I just personally would prefer something else.

I was starting to lean towards the office administration part of a hospital, I love having contact with people and I thought that I wouldn’t have as much interaction with people in a normal receptionist job. Knowing that, she told me about the Computer Office Administration (COA) program. It suited my needs the best, and the time frame was fantastic. So Cathy had me come in and have a few interviews with her and she showed me the school. I pretty much figured that I would be going here so  long as I was still able to work. I was really clear on that, and Cathy reassured me that I would be able to follow through with my modules and externship in the time frame that was given. She couldn’t give me a reason to not be there, and I was meant to go.

Once I started the enrollment process I told my boss that I decided to go back to school and he wasn’t the happiest. About a month or so later some employees that were hired after me got full-time because the district manager didn’t want to give full-time status to the employees going to school. I couldn’t follow through with a full-time schedule now anyway. I was really upset for about a month and my morale went down. I had to remind myself that they were missing out, not me. In 9 months I will have more experience and be in a better situation. My boss always told me that this job isn’t a permanent job for everyone especially since I am so young.

I am so happy I made this decision to come here. I was really unhappy at community college. Trying to fight to get into a class, fight to get your books and if you didn’t have them they would drop you–they never had enough books to rent or sell in the book store, I would have to pay even more to get them shipped to my house faster, and it was just unneeded stress for sub-par teaching. I only went because my parents said I had to for a while.

I joined Central Coast College on my own terms, and I decided to take control of my life because I didn’t want to be stuck in that job for the rest of my life, I want to do better, and I deserve to do better. I know I’m actually applying myself and studying the way I always wanted to. My biggest supporter is my boyfriend, he’s always asking me about school, making sure I’m doing my homework and giving me advice on my projects, and he’s always fixing my computer problems. He goes above and beyond and if I was doing this without him, I probably wouldn’t have decided to go back to school.

It is really important to have a support team when doing this. I have my boyfriend, his family, my family, and my boss and supervisors at work are always asking about school. But ultimately at the end of the day, it has to be yourself that wants it. You are the only one that can make the decision for your life and where you want to go. It’s scary jumping into something new, but I never regretted it. My classmates and teachers are so positive and supportive. It’s been a confidence booster and I know I can finish this program. I couldn’t have asked for a better position that I am in. I am very grateful I am here every day and I have a goal to reach.

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