Guest post by Miguel A. Corona (@MiguelACorona)
Graduating with doctorate degree two year ago was one of happiest moments in my life. I thought walking across the stage to receive my degree would never arrive. It took a lot of work, commitment, and focus to reach this academic goal. As I sat with the other graduates waiting to cross the stage, I reflected on my path to that day. My educational trail was very different. You might call it non-traditional. Perhaps a lot like your academic career so far.
I was an average student in high school at best. I didn’t set foot on a college campus until six years after graduating from high school. I bounced from one community college to another racking up college credits that weren’t leading to any particular degree. In the five years I spent working and attending school part-time, I easily could’ve earned my college degree.
It was hard not thinking about that fact. And then, I did the most foolish thing a college student could do – I quit school. It took another year before I made a genuine commitment to finish my degree. Despite my strong resolve, earlier academic mistakes made my journey even more challenging.
I never thought about how old I’d feel sitting in an introductory English class with recent high school graduates. The majority of them were almost 10 years younger than me. It took courage to sit in a class, raise my hand, and ask a question about basic math or writing skills. It was tough; however, the experience made me a better student and built my self-confidence.
These types of experiences were repeated countless times over the course of my undergraduate program. When I graduated with my business degree, I entered my first “real” job with a higher-level of confidence, commitment, and maturity. These qualities carried over into a successful career, graduate school, and eventually my doctoral work.
If you’re a returning Latino adult student reading my short personal account, I hope it serves as an incentive, particularly on the nights when you’re working late or when you feel your efforts aren’t paying off. Believe me, they will one day. Remember, your community needs you – the world needs you. Stay focused on the long-term goal of finishing your degree.
I think you’d agree with my advice. Overcome your fears and act in spite of them. And that, in a word, is courage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Miguel Angel Corona is passionate about helping organizations understand, reach, and develop Latino talent. As a first-generation American, Miguel has utilized almost twenty years of professional experience to develop a multifaceted understanding of the social and cultural factors that impact Latino career choice and professional success. Miguel has also employed these personal and professional experiences to establish AdMentis Latino Talent Solutions, an independent consulting firm dedicated to assisting organizations tap the growing Latino workforce.