I want and will be my children’s example of what a strong, intellectual Mexican woman is. I want them to know the importance of getting an education. I have trouble trusting because of the abuse I have witnessed, but I learn every day that I am the author of my future. I will not let my family’s history and lack of education be our future or stop us from getting an education and earning degrees.” ~Armida Ramirez

Q&A with Armida Ramirez, Compton College Presidential Scholar and Graduate

Compton College, in Compton, CA, is one of six colleges to join the Achieving the Dream National Network.

Armida Ramirez is a 2019 Compton College Presidential Scholar. She earned two associate degrees, in biological sciences and pre-nursing and carried a notable 4.0 cumulative GPA.

What are you currently doing?
During the pandemic, I am currently taking Skype classes and also doing clinical hours in a county hospital. I’m working full time right now and not taking classes Los Angeles County College of Nursing this summer. My career goal is to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working, and then become a nurse practitioner.

How did you get to where you are today?
I’m the first person in my family to go to college. I’m from an immigrant family. My parents always believed in work before education. After I graduated from Renaissance High School for the Arts (Long Beach, CA) in 2008, I was accepted to three universities, including USC. However, personal barriers kept me from enrolling and I instead worked at a minimum-wage job. When I was 26, I enrolled in Compton College while caring for my two children and working full time. I worked in an ophthalmologist’s office, and also as a medical assistant in an office for six years making just above minimum wage.

Compton College not only allows you to see education as a pathway to uplift those out of poverty, but also toward upward social mobility. Thank you, Compton College, for all you have done for me and my fellow students."How has Compton College helped you reach your educational goals?
I view community college as a pathway to start a career. College is the first step to the rest of your life. Compton College provides tremendous support and resources for students. If you are not familiar at all with the college process, Compton College staff go out of their way to walk students through the steps to admission and registration for classes, as well as assisting with the application process. Upon walking onto campus the first time, I was overcome with an overwhelming feeling of acceptance. The counselor I met with was so patient and provided detailed information. Not every college does this and I know from personal experience. The instructors and staff are beyond supportive.

Compton College not only influenced me through education, it also influenced me to grow morally. Compton College taught me respect, compassion, and unity. Compton College is a place that any student from any background may come and receive a top education from instructors that want to help students succeed.What, in particular, helped you the most?
Compton College’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) program gave me the tools to learn and study methods to be successful in college through a variety of workshops. I applaud this program. Nursing school is difficult. I use the study methods I learned for nursing school and it has helped me tremendously. The workshops helped me because I learned different study methods, selected the ones that work best for me and I have used these techniques during my nursing coursework.

The EOPS program pushed me to succeed. If it was not for the weekly supply giveaway, walk-in counseling, tutoring services and progress reports, my academic success may not have been what it was.
I also used the Student Success Center for tutoring, which provided resources beyond my expectations. The tutors are very knowledgeable in the subject for which they provide tutoring. The Writing Center and Math/Science Center were my go-to before every exam.

What else contributed to your success as a student?
Compton College not only allows you to see education as a pathway to uplift those out of poverty, but also toward upward social mobility. Prior to attending college, I was working full time and trying to support my two children, but I was not getting anywhere. You can’t really buy the basic things you need to live on minimum wage. My two choices were to find a job that paid higher without an education, or get an education and be able to provide a better life for my family. My only resolution was to go to college. I decided to just go for it!

Higher education provides a means to increase your earning capability and potential to create a better life for yourself. I view it as way to move from earning a low wage and living paycheck to paycheck, to earning a much better wage where you can pay bills, support a family, build savings for a comfortable retirement, having extra money for vacations and emergencies, and enjoy a better way of life."What does it mean to you personally to be the first in your family to attend college?
I grew up in an immigrant family in which I am the only American-born citizen. My father battled alcoholism and my mother went into survival mode and ended up providing for my siblings and I by herself, without any government assistance. Her highest level of education is 6th grade. She has always believed work comes first before education. She still believes education is unnecessary. I do not allow my mother’s beliefs to hinder my progress. However, since I have been attending college the last several years, she does tell people I’m going to college, and she will sometimes watch my children while I study for exams if I ask her.

I firmly believe that with my education and career goals, I can succeed in every way possible. I have always been a good student, but not a 4.0 GPA student and at Compton College I earned a 4.0 GPA!


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