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CTN ALUMNI SHARE WISDOM WITH CURRENT STUDENTS AT CONFERENCE
One of the highlights of CTN’s 5th annual Student Transfer Motivational Conference was a panel of CTN alumni, many of whom have not only completed the program but graduated with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. The panel included Palo Alto College’s Veronica Gonzalez, Alexis Fabian, Edward Rodriguez, and Juan Higa; South Texas College’s Manuel Gonzalez, Adolfo Pecina, and Marco Espinoza; and Austin Community College’s Cloe Llanos. Moderator Lydia CdeBaca asked the panelists about why they decided to pursue college, what challenges they had faced in their first years and beyond, how the Catch the Next program influenced them, and what advice they would give to the current cohort of CTN students.
Each panelist offered important insights into their motivations and their college experiences. Many discussed the challenges that come with being non-traditional students and balancing family life and, often, full-time work with the demands of going to college. A recurring bit of advice from the panel was to accept failure and to learn from it as a way to learn how you work best and how best to manage your time.
Another repeated theme was that of connections. Many spoke of the number of times they would reach out to their mentors, counselors, advisors, and professors for advice, recommendations, or just someone to listen to them, even after they had graduated from the community college. They spoke to the care and respect their CTN familia had instilled in them.
Finally, all shared insightful advice for the new class of CTN students. They encouraged students to take advantage of the support and motivation that the Ascender program provides in the first year, to stay connected with the networks of support the program offers, to maintain integrity, and to stay grateful for the opportunities a higher education provides. Keeping these values in view, they noted, will offer a pathway to success, whatever obstacles are placed in your path.