Photo supplied by Marisol Velazquez
Our Stories: An Intimate Connections Series by Pamela Drake
Marisol Velazquez, Director of the Auxiliary Enterprise Board Administrative Office at City Tech, recently returned back to school after 25 years to complete her bachelor’s degree, a decision a growing number of adults are facing. Marisol is a full-time mother, worker, and part-time student. With the love and support of her family, friends, and colleagues, she was able to continue her journey in pursuing her degrees. Currently, she is wrapping up her second semester towards finishing her bachelor’s degree. Her favorite quote is “Don’t ever give up on your dream. It is never too late to accomplish them”. Her children are her biggest fans.
- As a full-time working professional, why did you decide to return to school?
I returned to school to make a better life for my family; to complete my goal of having a bachelor’s degree; to make my family, especially my children proud, and most importantly, to be proud of myself.
- Did you have any fears about returning to school? What were they?
Yes. I was afraid because I wasn’t sure if I was going to do well (goes back to my insecurity of second-guessing myself) and I wasn’t sure if I could accomplish it.
- Describe yourself in one word? How does this word represent you?
Determined. I am determined to complete/accomplish any task or goals no matter how long it takes me.
- Now that you have returned to school, are you experiencing any obstacles?
Yes. One of my main obstacles is finding time to study while juggling a household and a full-time job. I see plenty of people doing it and make it look so easy but it’s not easy.
- What is still your biggest challenge or stumbling block(s) and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
My biggest challenge has been second guessing myself. The best way to overcome it is to trust my instincts.
- What’s the best advice you ever received?
Be thankful for what you have. Never take life for granted.
- What advice would you give others who want to return to school but are afraid?
It’s ok to be afraid, but do not let the fear stop you from what you want in life. There will always be obstacles to stop you from doing what you want but don’t let that overcome you. If you really want to do it, then fight those obstacles because, in the long run, it will be worth it.
- What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
The best way to learn is to fail. Learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them.
- How do you balance school, work, and family demands?
With the love and support of my family, friends, and colleagues, it has enabled me to continue my studies.
- What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who was caring, kind, funny, but most importantly, for my personality.
- What’s next for you?
Going for my Master’s degree once I finish my bachelor’s degree.
The thought of going back to school after a long absence can be quite a challenge. Often, adults who are returning to school after years of not being in a classroom are apprehensive about not fitting in, taking good notes, studying, and doing well on a test. Many wonder whether it’s really worth it or whether they can afford it. There is no hard definitive answer to this question. It’s different for each person. Marisol, like many others, had concerns about the time and commitment involved. But figuring out what works for you means asking yourself a few key questions before making a decision: Why do you want to go back to school? Is your goal to change careers, grow professionally, or finish a degree program started years ago? By focusing on your motivation, you can best define educational goals. Marisol went back to demonstrate to her children the importance of education and so that they could be proud of her.
If going back to school is the right option for you, don’t let fear hold you back. It may be scary, but it could turn out to be the best decision of your life.