Porterville student honors family of accountants with 4.0 in Business Administration program
Rachel Murphy recalls a moment when her 6-year-old daughter Aubrey asked, “Mom, you’re a grown-up, so what are you going to be? What career did you choose?”
“Those questions were my father’s doing,” says Rachel, who at 26 years old still hadn’t yet landed on a career, and each passing year meant more distance between her and the education that could get her there. “He always spoke to [Aubrey] about how important education is,” says Rachel.
“You told me college is important, but you didn’t finish it,” Rachel remembers Aubrey saying.
Rachel’s dad Ali had passed away the year prior to this conversation with Aubrey, but his stance on education was very much present in her daughter’s voice.
Rachel came from a family of accountants – her dad among them – and she was always drawn to that field. “I wanted to follow in their footsteps, but mostly I wanted to demonstrate to my daughter that you can go back to school at any age.”
Rachel’s husband Lorenzo was on board, too. “Make your dad proud,” he encouraged her.
It is not as though Rachel didn’t have the drive. She had worked in restaurants while she was in high school and as a data entry clerk as a young adult. She knew hard work. But, could she do the whole classroom thing again? “I hadn’t been in school in a long time, so going back was going to be a hard adjustment,” she said. “Having to write papers and assignments due every week would be a big difference.”
But she found the perfect solution to the demands of continuing her education with SJVC’s Business Administration program in Porterville, CA, that offered a hybrid online and ground campus experience. She could balance classroom participation with her online studies from home.
Her short evening ground classes were Monday-Thursday and gave her ample time for online assignments. “We have these reading companions and presentation points that summarize everything and reference page numbers to review everything we’d just learned,” says Rachel. And there was a lot to learn in this accelerated program. “Our subjects included things like Human Resources, Business Law and Ethics, and Business Math.”
It took Rachel a few of weeks to hit a comfortable rhythm of student life. It took a little longer to push herself past her natural shyness to a place where she was more at ease making class presentations and interacting with other students.
“As a new student in orientation, we had to interact with everybody and do some activities where you had to start talking right away,” says Rachel. “I was very nervous and would never have done that on my own. I really benefited from it because now, when I stand in a crowd, I don’t feel so shy to speak to somebody.”
Rachel steadily gained her footing and found an aptitude for her studies and a place at the front of the class she didn’t realize she had. “I was very shy, but the class broke me out of the shell to be ready to go out into the working world to be confident and knowledgeable.”
“Rachel grew into her role of becoming a very successful, well-spoken business student,” says Elaine Carrasco, Business Administration program instructor. “She conquered her fears by practicing her public speaking and by being willing to take the lead, even if that meant stepping out of her comfort zone.”
Her success was reflected in her 4.0 GPA and locked position on the Dean’s List.
Rachel found more than the right program environment for her career in accounting. “I was very surprised to make friends and get acquainted with people who have the same goals as I do,” she says. Natural study groups developed among friends that benefited everyone. “I might read something and interpret it differently from how someone else understands it, so it helps to see how someone else comes up with their ideas or views it.”
But being a student isn’t all sunshine and flowers. “Every time I felt like it was too hard, Lorenzo encouraged me to keep on going,” says Rachel. “‘You can get through this,’ he would say. He would remind me of what pushed me to start and that it was important to finish it.”
Now, Rachel is just a couple of weeks away from graduation and has no doubts that her path is clearer than it has ever been. “I will further my education and get my Master’s degree,” she affirms. “I AM going to be an accountant.”
Somewhere along the way to completing her Business Administration program, she also found herself mentoring others who struggle with the uncertainties she once carried. For several months, Rachel has volunteered to help with new student orientations. “I knew how I felt when I started, with no one to talk to or guide me. That’s why I volunteer to tell them about my experience and how they’ll learn how to adjust and how everybody is there to help out, so they won’t feel nervous or alone.”
She has some good advice ready for their times of doubt. “If you’re tired of struggling to make ends meet; that should be your motivation right there, to get your education. Do you want to keep living in that situation, or do you want to better yourself and provide for your family?”
Rachel is ready with her best “dad voice” to get you back on track. Ali would be very proud.
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