What Earning a College Degree Meant To You

We set goals for ourselves.  What do I want to be when I grow up?  What will it take to reach that goal?  In my research of what was needed and what resources would be required to reach my goal, I realized that pursuing higher education was the key.

I started out as the “typical” freshman student.  My parents had always encouraged completing my education.  I come from an era where a high school diploma was all that was needed to get a good-paying job.  So our parents set that goal to complete and graduate from high school.  But, unlike some of my friends who were working, I did not work while in high school.  So I decided my next step was going to college.  It was the best choice for me.

I started college but “life happens”.  After completing three semesters, I had to get a full-time job to help my family. My father said no, to keep going to school.  My decision was made but I made a promise to my father, and to myself, that I would continue going to school and earn my degree.

Working on a college campus put a stamp on what I wanted to do….be a college recruiter and promote higher education.  But an important requirement was that I needed my college degree.  So I made a decision that, for the door to open for me, I needed to complete my degree.  This meant I would get the job I wanted, a salary that would support me, and benefits that I could rely on.

It was not easy.  Remember I was working full-time to help my family.  It took 15 years to earn my degree and at a university that was my dream school – Trinity University.  And guess what, upon graduation, I was hired as an admission representative.  This job allowed me to travel throughout Texas and across the United States promoting the value of higher education. The BIG plus while recruiting, I was able to see places I thought I would never see.

My degree has opened a lot of doors to job opportunities. I have met so many people who have helped me on my journey. But I have also been, I hope, an inspiration to others to pursue their dreams through higher education.  Whether it be a certificate, a two year, four year, or higher.  It is an achievement that will never fade away

Rachel Maldonado, College Access & Success Advisor, Road to Success