Karina Velasco “SMC has great options. It has so many time slots for each class that I can easily go to school and work at the same time.”

The way Karina Velasco sees it, being a pharmacist is a lot better way of doing medicine than the ‘blood and guts’ routine of surgery. “Oh, I’ll still be a doctor, but I’ll just work in a pharmacy instead of an operating room,” she says. “It’s a very fast-growing industry, the pay is excellent, and—in this way—I’ll still be helping people.” Already working as a pharmaceutical technician, Karina is applying to USC and the University of the Pacific. But it’s SMC that has allowed the single working mom to get this far.

“At one point I was going to school from morning until 10 at night. And that was too much,” she says. “So I cut back a little on my workload, and SMC let me do that. One time I thought I wouldn’t get into a class that I really needed, but because I’m an Adelante student, doors were opened for me. Beyond that, the College is known for its transfer rate, it’s highly regarded, and—hey!—it’s right by the beach! The atmosphere is great, and it’s just a lot of fun.”

‘Fun’ notwithstanding, it’s the teachers of SMC that Karina says are the College’s best asset. “It’s like this teacher I had for English 2 this winter, Professor Mattessich. He brought in art books to illustrate what he was teaching us, and he had us reading history so that we’d know how people thought in the past. So,” she says, “I got English, history, and art, all from one class!”

Karina recommends to other working mothers that “you shouldn’t overdo your workload here because the professors are very demanding. Just take it slow and don’t allow yourself to get tired. SMC has worked for me. And soon,” she adds, “I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from college.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.