Student Success Corner: Seeing the Light in the Dark and Not Dropping Out

by Hannah Culliton


“I got married and I got pregnant… I was thinking of dropping out,” said Johanna Gonzalez, a former business major at WCC. Many students find themselves in the predicament of life, but Gonzalez overcame life’s challenges by utilizing the resources that WCC has to offer.

Gonzalez was born and raised in Ecuador and came to the US at the age of 19 as an international student at WCC. While still taking classes, Gonzalez got married and had a baby, which took a toll on her financial needs and her education.

“I was thinking of dropping out because I didn’t know how I was going to be able to take care of the baby and come to school. I spoke to Debby and Christine and they gave me information for health insurance, financial aid, and the daycare,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was directed to the counselors to figure out her degree plan and to apply for financial aid.

“Counselors helped me figure out what to do. I didn’t even know about financial aid…they told me there were options here… I didn’t have to feel desperate,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez mentioned that there were many opportunities here in WCC that she didn’t know about and that she was finally utilizing.

“I had no idea there was a daycare here… that was so great for me,” said Gonzalez when she realized that she could continue going to her classes without having to care so much about her baby.

Christine and Deborah guided Gonzalez through the difficult time that she was passing through, with all the responsibilities of taking care of a fresh new house and family with a newborn baby.

“They gave me a lot of helpful information and they were very motivating. They got me through financial aid, explained where to go [and] who to speak to,” said Gonzalez.

Her baby was born in January and Gonzalez started the semester in February.

“I was bringing the baby with me… and feeding the baby between classes. The baby went to daycare… I was able to drop him off and then after my classes go pick him up,” said Gonzalez.
“It was just crazy, stressful, I got almost no sleep, but I did it,” said Gonzalez.

After graduating from WCC in May 2014 as a business major, Gonzales was able to graduate and transferred to Mercy College for her baccalaureate degree where she is pursuing a career in finances.

“I will forever be thankful to them because without them I wouldn’t be where I am now, I really thought that I was just gonna be stuck… that I wouldn’t be able to finish my education like ever,” said Gonzalez.

“Hopefully I will graduate this May,” said Gonzalez.

“They helped me see the light when I was in the dark,” said Gonzalez when talking about the counselors and advisors who helped her.

“They really go out of their way to help us… just don’t give up, there will always be hard times, but just don’t give up. Education is very important; it will definitely open more doors. Have a goal, focus on it and there will always be help. Ask questions, don’t be afraid,” said Gonzalez.

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