Gustavo Siguenza never expected to be where he is today.
A carpenter from Dorchester, Siguenza always wanted to go to college but never had the chance. “I didn’t finish high school,” he explains “which prevented me from going to college.” When the opportunity did present itself, however, Siguenza jumped at it.
At first, he tried attending a community college but had a bad experience. As an adult learner, Siguenza worried about fitting in and getting used to being back in a classroom. “I enrolled in community college to ease my fears,” he says.” But, actually, it did the opposite.” In the community college, he felt isolated and alone as he tried to navigate the college experience. “I almost gave up on pursuing a degree,” he says.
But then, Siguenza talked with some coworkers who had attended Wentworth Institute of Technology and they convinced him to give it another try. Now, thanks to a partnership between the Carpenter’s Union and Wentworth, Siguenza is on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Project Management in December of 2019. “My family was a great inspiration for me in returning to school and obtaining my degree,” he says. “But, going back to school was for me,”
Flexible and Convenient
Getting a degree hasn’t always been easy. Like so many adult learners, Siquenza, needed to continue to work full-time while attending school. So, he looked for a program that was part-time with classes that would fit his busy work schedule. Wenworth’s evening and weekend classes allowed him to continue working while earning his degree. And the university’s online and hybrid classes—which combine face-to-face instruction with online learning—made it easier for Siguenza to fit school into his busy life. “Wentworth’s class schedule has been very convenient, especially for a person who works full time, offering many ways to go to class,” he explains.
Siquenza also found that he needed additional support in some of his classes, as well as career counseling, so he turned to the Academic Center and COOPs + Careers. “The professors were extremely knowledgeable, the class schedules were very convenient, and the staff has been incredibly helpful throughout the entire process,” he says.
For Siquenza, as for many adult learners, career outcomes, and being able to use his knowledge on the job, were important. Almost right away, Siguenza found that he was able to apply much of what he was learning in class, in the field. “I apply my classroom experience into my daily work environment whenever I am able,” he explains. “I have made decisions based on some of what I’ve learned. I find myself understanding concepts like scheduling and the importance of full transparency in communication, which have been very helpful.”
Embrace the Journey
What advice would Siguenza give to someone thinking about returning to school? “College is journey that is not made alone,” he says. “Find experienced people that will help you along the journey. And, embrace the journey!”
How about you? Could a degree help you get your career on the right track? Embrace the journey and get to where you were meant to be.