My fourth and final interview was with Angelica Rodriguez a high school counselor at Kelly High School with 25 years experience in education.
She went to UIC as an undergrad-Go Flames!
She shared with me that wasn’t until she found her place in education toward the end of her undergrad that she started blossoming.
Standout: Angelica shared that had she received more encouragement or more help/support she is not sure what she could have done with her life but she is very happy where she is. The opportunities could have been endless.
She has a bachelor’s and two master’s-- I can’t event decide on one program let alone get two degrees.
She is a person that welcomes change. She does not feel pressure or a sense of overwhelmness due to not needing to have all the answers.
What would you tell someone now that you wish you had been told early in life?
Take time to take inventory about what your strengths are and your values. One of the things she constantly tells her students is that they CAN. She is surprised by their hesitance to believe that. She even lets them borrow one of her dreams until they find their own. She also burst their belief that they need to settle for leftovers.
Her strength is in implementation.
What is necessary for someone coming into this path to posses?
Compassion, patience, sensitive, awareness, understanding of diverse cultures, knowing when to talk and when to just listen
If you could do anything else, what would it be?
Maybe be a school administrator. She sees that in order to make policy change that will benefit students that is where she needs to be. She is not quite ready to leave her current position. A lot has to do with the need she sees in her students. They do not receive much encouragement from their surroundings and she also has a purpose in their life.
How do you relieve stress?
Do not bring work with you on the weekends; home is a refuge with her family.
Do you have a mentor?
No. Professionally or schooling? No, although she talks about certain professor that inspired her to go into teaching.
Is there something about your career that you do not like?
Why do you do what you do?
She linked the reality that there is a need and also how she sees herself in so many of the young girls.
Standout: You have to have initiative to create what you want.
After speaking with her my own passion and touchstones came more into focus. I would like to speak with young girls and be an encouraging force. I would like to give them what I did not have and would have wanted. I saw many similarities in our path with the most obvious being the lack of support and encouragement. I know that my parents wanted me to succeed but my emotional (all encompassing) well being was not at their top of their list. There are so many things students face when they are in school that is not talked about openly. So many of the times the student even in college is trying to get by (one semester at a time). I have a sense of obligation to put back into the universe what I know now.
I would like to thank all of my MENTOR’s for all of their time, their honesty and not sugarcoating anything. When you share your story you never know where the ripples of your story (experience) end and another person’s begin.