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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

A Birthday Wake-up Call

March 5, 2013

Angie GonzalezAngie Gonzales’s 30th birthday was about to hit and she wasn’t happy about it.

“I was sitting around at home after work every day, wanting to do something more with my life, but I didn’t have the education,” says Angie. “I felt like I was watching my life go by.”

Many people might sit quietly in their discontent, or wail at the walls, but not Angie. Birthday or not, she thought, “I’m still young.” And, she set out to make a big change. She enrolled in the Pharmacy Technology program at the Bakersfield campus.

She loves the small class sizes and credits the extra focus given by teachers and close-knit student friendships with getting her through the tough spots. Things got off to a good start with her first instructor, Wendy Kolb, who made sure Angie knew she would always be in her corner. “She was always there for me with math, encouragement, anything I needed – even a reference when I graduate,” says Angie. “All the support I’ve received from teachers and students is probably why I’m still here. All my teachers make sure I understand the material.”

There’s another very big reason for Angie’s commitment to her education and the better life it will provide. Angie’s 8-year old daughter, Aleyna, is always on her mind. “I want to make sure she is happy and that I can provide for her,” says Angie. “I also want to be a role-model for her so that she knows she can go to college and graduate, too.” Angie is the first among her 5-siblings to go to college and she wants her effort to make a positive impression on Aleyna.

Still, the road isn’t easy. Angie works full-time for a cardiologist from 8:00-5:00 every day and goes to class from 5:30-10:15, Monday-Thursday. She knows she wouldn’t be able to hold that kind of schedule without the help of her parents, who provide a home for her and Aleyna. “Without guidance, encouragement and support from my parents, I would not have accomplished what I have today,” says Angie. “They take good care of my daughter and I can’t thank them enough.”

Leaving every day, all day isn’t easy. “Aleyna asks me to stop going to school and please stay home,” says Angie. “But, I tell her that I’m doing this for us, for a better future.” They are almost there.

“It was a great experience overall, and I’m glad to have taken that step to continue my education and improve my life”, says Angie.


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