Tag Archives: Education

Guess What, You Have The Power to Change Your Life

27 Feb

I am so happy to be an adult. I never want to go back to being a child. My childhood was filled with lots of rough patches so I would not want to repeat that experience. As an adult I have the power to change my life. I make the decisions about where I live, who I associate with, how much education I get and where I work. Guess what, if you are over 18 and reading this now YOU HAVE A CHOICE TOO! That’s the great thing about being a grown-up. You are not helpless. I strongly believe, where there is a will there is a way. There is always a way.

It doesn’t matter how much money your parents have or how much money you have. It doesn’t matter where you live. All that matters is that you set your mind to a specific goal and stick to it! Nothing worthwhile is going to happen over night. You need to be patient and put in the hard work. You will struggle. You will feel like giving up. You will come so close to quitting. But, you will find the strength to push on and get to where you want to be.

I believe everyone should educate themselves after high school. You don’t have a high school diploma? That’s okay. You can still be successful. You can get a GED. Even if you don’t get your GED you can still teach yourself certain skills and get a decent, comfortable office job.  You will then use your typing skills (you will learn from free online typing lessons), customer service experience (from your retail and fast food jobs), and organizational talents to become the best receptionist/office manager/customer service rep that company ever hired. You know how I know? I’ve seen it happen right before my eyes to someone close to me. Sure, working an office job isn’t saving lives and isn’t the most thrilling way to spend your time. However, you are helping a company succeed, helping the economy and you have money in your pocket to put gas in the car, food on the table and send your kid to school with new shoes. That sounds like a good life.

You get to define what success means. Success does not always mean becoming filthy rich and having a couple master’s degrees on your wall. It means whatever you wish it to mean! To not struggle with debt, own a car free and clear and be a homeowner one day. That’s a fabulous goal. Do what you need to do to positively get there.

Everyone should learn how to do something productive and be an expert at it and excel at it. Learn how to fix cars, auto body repair, fix airplanes, give facials, cut hair, build houses, install solar panels, fix plumbing…there is a way to educate yourself. Once you have the knowledge you can go out there and find a good stable job. You can work your way up to management. One day you may even run your own auto body repair shop.

Education does not always mean a traditional four-year university. It means going to a two-year college. Going through a certificate program. Taking typing classes and Microsoft office program classes at the rec center. It means showing up at a Veterinarian’s office and saying, “My only experience is being a dog catcher but I want to continue working with animals.” And that doctor taking a chance on you and teaching you everything you ever needed to know about being Vet Tech on the job. Look at that, fully trained and experienced working with something you love and you didn’t have to pay a dime for college. You paid with your time, hard work and perseverance. (My mom did that.)

You can’t just think about the present. Okay so today, getting drunk or messing with drugs, partying a handful of days each week sounds like a blast. But where is that getting you? Are you spending the little bit of money you have wisely? What decisions are you making today that will benefit your future? Where is the party when you are 60 years old, not as healthy as you once were and have a couple kids maybe, and you have no retirement fund and no way to help your kids go to college or whatever it is they want to pursue. How are you helping the cycle?

I am not perfect. I don’t know everything. We all make mistakes and bad decisions. I have absolutely made some very bad decisions in my life. But I learned from it and made damn sure not to repeat it again. I know there are unexpected things that happen in life that change everything. So it’s a change of plans. Everyone has a story. We are all faced with adversity and have our own issues. Don’t let it stop you! Be better for yourself. Take care of you today so the you of the future is living well. Healthy, happy, and not burdened by the past.

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Biggest Accomplishment

16 Mar

Monique Gonzalez CSUN GraduationThe most challenging thing I’ve done so far in my life is finish college. Without any money to pay for school and dealing with a lot of “growing pains” I managed to stick to it and earned a 4 year degree in 7 years. I also did it without racking up any student loan debt! It is by far my biggest accomplishment and allowed me to get into a job where I would most likely never would have landed without the degree and experience earned because of college.

I must insert a big THANK YOU to federal and state grants for paying a majority of my college expenses along with scholarships. I only paid a very small amount with my own money. So, proof here that “the system” doesn’t always fail.

Going to school for so long was NOT easy–especially for a straightforward degree like Journalism. Towards the end of college I often joked, “I could be a doctor by now!”  I worked full time and was completely responsible for myself right away. There were family issues, relationship issues, money issues, job issues, housing issues, car issues…all those hardships back to back. The option to live with parents or receive any financial support simply did not exist in my world. There was no “mom’s house” to go back to or anything like that. Either I provide a roof over my head or live on the street.

There was a time when my car broke down on the freeway while I was on my way to a summer school remedial math class and I just wanted to quit right then and there. There were times where I thought I would never meet the math requirement and going to college was pointless because I just could NOT get past that ONE requirement.

There was the time I got into a pretty bad car accident on my way to school and after the police wrote up their report and we exchanged insurance information I kept driving straight to school. Later, the insurance company deemed my car totaled.

There were times where I was just so TIRED. Tired of working and driving and studying and dealing with B.S. in life. I just wanted to be carefree and not worry about things anymore. I wanted to be like other people I knew that didn’t seem to care whether or not they dealt with the whole college thing. They just kept doing the same things everyday…and I’m so glad I didn’t take that path because I know I would be so miserable doing something plain. I was miserable working “plain” jobs while in school! By plain I mean something not creative, not in the field of what I am interested in–by all means we do need people working in clerical positions or doing data entry or retail. Those jobs needed to be done but I knew I wasn’t happy and became extremely bored at all of those jobs.

No matter how tired and defeated I felt I just couldn’t let myself take a break. The mentality was I either keep going or I just quit all together. No summer breaks, no semesters off–all or nothing. There were so many times that the end seemed so far. It felt miserable when I saw a majority of my former high school classmates posting on Facebook about their college graduations and I knew mine wasn’t for another 2-3 years.

There was that semester where I took a full course load at CSUN while working at a bank corporate office. My brain had to be “On” all day. No breaks. Work. School. Study. Repeat. Poor Kyle had to watch me melt down over the stress more times than I remember.

I got through it all. Those nights I cried over heartbreak and the tears dripped all over my text books. Those weekends I wanted to go out and do what other 20-somethings were doing but I couldn’t because I needed to finish this research project, because no time to do it during the week! Times when I was angry at my family situation. Those other kids my age get to go to school full time, why did this have to be so messed up...

That whole long, dragged out, painful college experience is the most rewarding and valuable thing I ever went through. I am not that recent college grad with no “real” work experience. My work ethic and determination where formed by those years. I was 17 when I started and 24 when I finally finished and completely confident and capable to take on anything.


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