Pharmacy Tech student shares quest for better life
“This is the career I never knew I wanted,” says Pharmacy Technology student, Lauren Enriquez, who spent several years working at popular SoCal theme parks and, more recently, Starbucks.
At twenty-three, Lauren was not happy where she was, but didn’t feel that the college experience would work very well for her either. “I did community college, and it wasn’t a good fit,” she says. “But, it didn’t have the guidance SJVC offers me.”
A girlfriend had started SJVC’s Pharmacy Tech (PT) program in Temecula, and Lauren thought it sounded like fun. “I had thought about a career in medicine, but I’m kind of squeamish and not really good about blood and guts and stuff,” she says.
The PT program would give her the industry she wanted without the queasy bits.
“I got a phone call not 10 minutes after I requested more information online; and it’s probably the best call I ever accepted,” says Lauren. “It was 48 hours from website to ringing the bell (new student enrollment bell) on campus.”
It was a great start, but Lauren had plenty of apprehension about school. “Oh my god, what if I hate it or mess this up,” she worried.
She was reassured by the small class size and the amount of one-on-one attention instructors provide. “They have hands-on experience themselves, so know what’s relevant to us in our career field,” says Lauren. “Like they tell new students in orientation, ‘No one will let you drown.'”
Lauren did not drown. She barely had to hold her breath.
“Honestly, a lot of it came really easy for me,” she says. Lauren blossomed under all the support she got at school and at home from her husband, Chris. She locked into a consistent 4.0 GPA and threw herself into SJVC volunteer work.
“I was thinking that this is the only chance at college I’m going to get, so I want to have good memories of involvement,” says Lauren. “I just want to help my campus and inspire others to get involved too.”
Lauren is President of HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) and a member of all clubs on campus, including ASB and Diversity Club. She is a frequent organizer of community events such as Light the Night Walk and Relay for Life, which earned her the Student Ambassador Award and Inspirational Involvement Award.
“Lauren is a leader on and off campus, daily making a difference for her fellow students and her community,” says John Hall, Dean of Student Services. “I can’t wait to see where her drive and determination bring her next!”
A couple of months ago, Lauren’s strong academic performance and volunteer standing were suddenly at risk. Chris lost his job and Lauren’s focus and finances dwindled. “There was no way my husband would ever let me drop out,” so they hunkered down, spent money on the bare necessities, and Lauren resisted the urge to go back to work. Chris just recently landed another position, so some hard choices were averted.
“I cannot wait to repay him for time I’ve spent mooching,” laughs Lauren, who graduates in January.
Lauren would like to go to work for a hospital or compounding pharmacy where she would customize IV bags with specific medications. “I think it’s a fun and interesting process,” she says.
She would also like to continue her education to get her BA degree in biology before going on to Pharmacy school. “I’d like to be that kind of pharmacist that can actually jump in and help out PTs, and know where they’re coming from,” she says.
Her greatest inspiration to complete her program has been her husband and the better life they can share. Currently living with her in-laws, Lauren and Chris want, like any couple, to get out on their own. “We want to live the way we like, stay close to family…not too close, though,” Lauren teases.
Lauren and Chris like to spend time together, often teaming up on video games. “We’re not very competitive and usually do different quests together,” she says. “Chris is sitting on the couch, telling me he is better,” she laughs.
Look out world. A shared quest seems to work very well for Lauren and Chris.
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