Students return to school after taking a break

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Chloe Strickland, Staff Reporter

Many former College of Desert students in the Coachella Valley struggle with returning to school after taking a break. For some, they fear they won’t be able to keep up after being out of school for so long and for others is not of knowing what they want to do.

Alexis Domingue, 23 and Melissa Diaz, 28 have both decided to re-enroll at COD and are taking their fears and challenges one step at a time.

Domingue first enrolled at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa straight out of high school but never attended. After being out of school for 4 years and moving back to the valley, Domingue has enrolled at COD and plans to major in liberal arts.

“Since then, I’ve realized how much I missed out on- I could be on my way to my career by now. I want to do something I’m happy with, not be stuck in odd jobs because I have nothing else,” said Domingue.

Domingue acknowledges that she needed the time to grow and figure out what she wanted to do, “At the time, I didn’t want to be in school and had no intention of actually going- I just did it to please my parents.”

After researching and receiving professional advice from counselors, Domingue realized where her passions lie and have a plan to follow through with, “I’m interested in school counseling and going down that route, but I’m still figuring it out as I go. I’m just starting with my general education first and getting that out of the way.”

Diaz graduated from COD with an associate degree in mass communications but has since decided to pursue a different profession. “[mass communications] just wasn’t for me. I originally started going to school for art and I really liked it, but I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make a career out of it so I switched to mass communications and it sucked,” said Diaz, who realized she was unhappy with her major after an internship where she got hands-on experience in the field.

After graduating and  taking a break to figure things out, Diaz has decided to return to school and major in graphic design and animation, “It makes me happy and I know I won’t lose interest; I could make a career out of it on my own if need be.”

With a happier pursuit ahead of her, Diaz’s advice to anyone hesitant about returning to school is, “Take your time deciding what you want to do and don’t feel pressured to pick something right away.”

After taking the leap to a fresh start, Domingue’s advice is, “I was scared to go back, but being scared is another excuse- it’s your future and you will thank yourself later.”

If you are a returning student who would like some guidance on going back to school, you can visit the counseling office located on the second floor of the Cravens Student Services Center to answer any of your questions and for information about helpful workshops for building your schedule and major exploration.