First Generation Jitters

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Growing up in Elko, NV, Vanessa did not have the external motivators for academics that many others are so fortunate to have. Education just wasn’t important in her family, and her decision to pursue a degree as a first generation college student was met with many “unknowns”.

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Even though she’d been considering college since the time of her high school graduation, money had always held her back. She couldn’t secure financial aid on her own, and her parents were not in a position to substantially contribute to her education. So, like many young adults in her position, the next logical step was to join the workforce and put her educational aspirations on hold.

All that changed when Vanessa’s special-needs daughter was born three years later.

Feeling stagnated and restricted as a single mother whose child required frequent hospital visits, Vanessa knew that advancing her education would be the surest way of providing her daughter with the very best in care. And that quickly became the only motivator she needed.

Back to School

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The financial and emotional challenges Vanessa faced on a daily basis forced her to devise real-time strategies. When she enrolled at Fayetteville Tech at age 21, she had a lot of doubt in her ability to juggle a college schedule as a single mother, but the love of nearby family, and the resourceful faculty advisors at Fayetteville Tech guided her on a confident path towards success, day by day.

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Just as everyone’s goals and dreams are different, so, too, are the strategies for overcoming individual obstacles. With online classes, daycare assistance, financial aid (both loans and scholarships) and the help of tutors and advisors at Fayetteville Tech’s Student Success Center, Vanessa was able to piece together a financial roadmap and time management plan that worked for her life.

Vanessa’s goals and dreams would not be compromised due to challenges and hurdles.

Going back to school, and ultimately deciding a career path, required a lot of research.  Because of her natural affinity for the sciences and the attractive income potential in the medical/dental field, Vanessa narrowed down her interests to choose Fayetteville Tech’s dental hygiene studies. The program’s job shadowing hours helped to solidify this decision and showed her how her future career would allow her to meaningfully serve others.

The faculty advisors at Fayetteville Tech consistently guided Vanessa in the right direction towards registration and program requirements, working with her need for a flexible schedule and reduced semester hours due to her daughter’s hospital stays.  Vanessa successfully earned her Associate in General Education (AGE) degree, then two years later, graduated from the Dental Hygiene Program at Fayetteville Tech. Because many of her AGE classes were prerequisites for her dental hygiene program, she was well on her way towards efficiently satisfying program requirements before she even chose a final academic path.

After graduating and working for two years as a full-time dental hygienist, Vanessa recently made the exciting decision to pursue a 4-year degree in Biology at a neighboring university (working part-time as a dental hygienist on the weekends) with plans to start applying to dental school.

Yes, she’d do it all over again.

Through the years, attending college came with a lot of unknowns for Vanessa.  But, looking back, she is thankful for how Fayetteville Tech exceeded her expectations, and prepared her for continued successes. When it came time to take the state and national boards for licensure as a hygienist, Vanessa found herself to be far more prepared and knowledgeable than peers at other institutions, and now, in her university studies, her work habits have proven to be quite advanced, thanks to her experiences at Fayetteville Tech.

The biggest lesson she has learned in the time that has passed between graduating high school and where she is today is to avoid procrastination. Listen to the guidance of trusted advisors, follow the instructions given by those who are there to help, and refine study habits and time management skills for benefits that last into your future.  You can do it.

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Work Habits will Follow Me Through Life

“My entire experience at Fayetteville Tech, with the quality of instructors and level of education I received, prepared me for my 4-year university studies, eventually pursuing my future career, and in overall work habits that are sure to follow me through life.” — Vanessa Yepez