The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

Your Educational Journey Does Not Have To Be Linear
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Campus & Community
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Paulina Garcia, Staff Writter • July 3, 2024

    Your Educational Journey Does Not Have To Be Linear

    The moment is ingrained in my head: moving the tassel on my graduation cap from right to left, reminiscing about the last moments my peers and I would share the same room together. They tell you that you should have it all figured out before that moment. I believe a lot of seniors wanted to believe in their heart of hearts that they did. Me, on the other hand, I had convinced myself that the path I was taking was the right one.

    I was extremely passionate about theater arts throughout high school, so much that my family and friends were shocked when I announced that I would be a nursing major. I knew I needed a career that could financially support me and my family, and I had a drive to help and heal those in need, so at the time, it seemed like a perfect choice.

    I attended one of the universities of Texas to pursue a nursing degree. I dedicated three years to my studies before I began to face challenges with my mental health. I tried my hardest to balance school, work, extracurricular activities, and my social life, but it was very overwhelming for me at the time.

    After much deliberation, I decided to drop out of college. It was one of the hardest decisions to make in my life. It felt as if I had stopped moving forward and everyone around me was leaving me behind.

    Even then, I held my head high and had no shame. I knew what I needed for myself and I was honest about what I could and couldn’t do—and this, I will never regret.

    During my year away from school, I immersed myself in various jobs, gaining diverse experiences. One of the most impactful roles I took on was as an elementary school teacher and tutor, where I developed a deep understanding of our educational system and the importance of nurturing young minds. Additionally, my time working at a medspa introduced me to the world of wellness and healthcare careers, sparking a newfound interest in that field. I also dedicated some time to volunteering and eventually working at a retirement facility, where I gained valuable insights into that form of healthcare. I still hold the stories and lessons I learned from the residents very close to my heart.

    After allowing myself to feel what I needed to, I told myself to get up. I knew I couldn’t waste this time that I created for myself; it was precious. I learned about so many different things and people of all ages and backgrounds. I heard stories from young and old alike about their journeys throughout life, and it brought me so much comfort to know that the growth everyone experiences is not linear at all.

    I was inspired to continue my education and go back to school. My academic journey at HCC was not without its twists and turns—I switched my major five times in a single semester before discovering my knack for communication. Alongside my communication degree, I also decided to pursue a certification in massage therapy through a vocational school.

    I am very grateful for all the different opportunities and all the different forms of education I got to experience.

    There’s so much pressure on young people to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. That pressure got to me throughout my young adulthood, and I felt very insecure about where I was in my life at times. Venturing out of the scope of a “regular four-year education” really put things into perspective for me, personally.

    Sometimes growth is uncomfortable. Our problems cannot be solved on the same level that we are experiencing them. This is why I was willing to step out of my comfort zone to find different experiences.

    My ultimate goal is to complete my bachelor’s degree and build a career as a massage therapist, where I can combine my knowledge of communications with my passion for promoting wellness. This journey has taught me the value of adaptability, perseverance, and the importance of following our passions.

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