Susan Ortiz “I’ve felt like dropping out because of all the stresses of the past year. But I’m going to tough it through: College is very important to me.”

“It’s been a real roller coaster lately, because of a lot of circumstances beyond my control,” admits Susan Ortiz. “I have a lot of responsibilities and it’s tough to manage everything, including school. But I’m going in to see my counselors to find out if I can work out another game plan: College is really critical for me right now. And learning from a teacher speaking gives me so much more insight than anything I could learn from just reading a book.” Susan hopes that fighting through some personal adversity of her own will give her strength to help others in need of encouragement, and a kind word.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to help children. And being a so-called minority, I’ve felt it’s my responsibility to help all of them,” says the young woman whose father is black and mother is Latina. “The children on the streets, the gangbangers, those who dream of getting out of the ghetto: They all need the right guidance. And I think I can provide some strong influence for them. But to do it,” she continues, ”I’m going to have to become articulate and motivational as a speaker. I’ve never really cared for school before I came to SMC,” Susan admits. “But this step I’m taking here is a very big one for me. And I know that I’ll never be able to do what I was born to do with my life unless I get the right kind of education. What I hope for, ten years from now,” she adds, “is that I’ll be working for some large children’s organization and taking troubled kids out into the world, and showing them that there’s more to life than constant struggle.”

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