Drop out student turns life around

By Jorge Lopez

ELAC student Jennifer Martinez shares her personal experience now that she will be finishing her second year East Los Angeles College. For a time it seemed as if Martinez would never finish at all.

Martinez started her undergraduate studies at ELAC two weeks after she had graduated from Esteban E. Torres High School. Martinez started her college journey with no idea of what to major in. Martinez’ parents suggested to her that she major in nursing. Their conception of nursing graduates was one of not struggling with finding a job right after graduating from college.

Conflicted by her parents will, Martinez thought it would be best to take general courses in hopes that it would lead her to her destined career. Working full time at a retail store and taking over 14 units, Martinez was starting to lose interest in college and ultimately dropped out of all her classes at ELAC during Spring 2014.

During this break from ELAC, Martinez was handed a flyer by a police officer for a summer school program in which students would get on-hands experience at the police academy. Intrigued, Martinez subsequently enrolled in the program and at ultimately found her destined career as an investigative officer.

Motivated, Martinez not only reenrolled at ELAC but she also made up for her spring and summer semesters by enrolling in 18 unit’s worth of transferable courses. Although Martinez continues to work in retail, she has focused most of her attention towards her education.

Martinez said that her parents remain a bit skeptical about their own daughter pursuing such a dangerous field as law enforcement but at the same time they will continue to support her in any way possible.

Martinez said the only issue that has gotten in the way of her academic journey now has been her math courses. Martinez said that the math lab at ELAC has truly helped her understand the concepts and formulas required to pass her current math course but once test day arrives her anxiety takes over. Martinez says that the anxiety she experiences isn’t related to any serious health issues but rather her own pessimistic thoughts of failing the test.

Previous math instructors told Martinez that its normal to feel these negative thoughts every time there is a test.  The instructor said, the fear must be controlled for that will be the key to passing any course or challenge in general. Martinez found that taking her exams alone with her professors is easier, since she doesn’t over think what the other student’s might be feeling in the exam.

Martinez hopes that once she is done with her math courses she will move on to her major prep required for an associate’s degree in Administration of Justice. Martinez has also looked into a variety of colleges that offer some of the best programs in California for her planned career.

These colleges include California State University of Los Angeles, Fullerton and Dominguez Hills. Martinez has also considered applying, in the future, for her masters in psychology once she is done with the police academy and undergraduate studies.

Martinez strongly encourages students to pursue a career they will love and not just for money. Martinez said, “when you love something, you will always put your best of effort to make things work out, it’s an emotion that drives us to do our best no matter how difficult things might get.”

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