A second try at education

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By Denisse Ortegon / Special to Viewpoints

By Denisse Ortegon / Special to Viewpoints

Keeping a positive perspective in life can be hard while attending classes, hours of homework, studying and working to pay the bills, especially during a difficult economy.

According to the state’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the overall unemployment rate in California was 11.7 percent in May 2011 and the same month it reported California had the largest decrease in employment.

Tynesha Woolfork, a student at Riverside City College, is looking to further her education. She is a returning RCC graduate, who like many others is looking to better her future and expand on her education. Her persistence and determination has helped her keep a positive outlook throughout school and her dedication has given her the knowledge her presence clearly projects.

After three years of attending RCC, she transferred to Cal State San Bernardino and graduated in 2006 with an academic degree in communication with a concentration in public argumentation and rhetoric. She felt relief to be done with school and was plotting her next move but finding a job didn’t come at ease.

“A challenge I ran into was often times, work required experience,” said Woolfork. Experience she did not yet possess. The struggle to find a job however, did not stop or slow down the perseverance she has.

“I’m appreciative of this opportunity to go back to school and work on campus part time during this break of full-time employment because it’s giving me time to be productive during a time that is so discouraging with the unemployment,” Woolfork said. “It can really get to you.”

As a re-entry student, Woolfork stated her opinion on RCC’s curriculums.

“I think RCC has a great variety of personal career developing courses… I’m comfortable here; it’s my neighborhood,” she said.

Many adults are discouraged when it comes to going back to school; getting enrolled in courses can be difficult.

“Lucky us!” Woolfork said with a giggle as she expressed her gratitude for being enrolled in courses.

Class sizes are reaching their maximum capacity here at RCC.

“Twenty at least, and that’s times five because I teach five courses,” said professor Shari Yates when asked on average how many students she turns down at the beginning of each semester. That is an average of 100 students getting turned away from class by a single professor per semester.

Yates has been a professor for 20 years and sees a difference between adult students and the younger students.

“I see the older people as much more nervous about college and then also much more dedicated so I see them as very serious,” Yates said.

There are many people working in different departments at RCC that are there to help guide students along their studies and to provide useful information.

“I love it when someone is scared and I can make them feel better,” Yates said.

RCC’s Office of Financial Aid offers grants and scholarships students could apply for.

“I receive financial aid which is great, I don’t think I’d be able to attend college without it,” said Alicia Cabello, a 30-year-old RCC student looking to better the life of her 8-year-old daughter through her studies.

“She’s my drive for everything, my motivation… I just do it for her so that in the future she has a better life,” she said. “I want to give her what she needs and at the same time be a role model.”

Cabello’s daughter has kept her motivated while hitting the books and striving for a higher education.

“It was a struggle…” she said as she described her first experiences at RCC.

Now however, Cabello has set goals for herself and great plans for her academic success.

“I feel very good, I feel very motivated,” she said about her contrived target.

Cabello hopes to transfer out of RCC this fall or winter to the UC Riverside to pursue her goal of becoming a school psychologist.

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