PCC’s campus was crowded, with students scattered all around going in different directions. Through what seemed like a never ending amount of people emerged a young woman wearing an oversized bright red hoodie.
20-year-old Angel Vazquez had no intention of going to college. Fresh off of graduating high school, she immediately started working as a team-member for a thrift store called Savers. Her duties consist of making sure the store stayed clean and stocked, while also taking in customer donations and answering questions.
Vazquez always had an interest for vintage and antique items, which is why she can often be found shopping at a thrift store or swap meet to see what they have to offer.
“Antiques have a story to it. Maybe for the longest time it was cherished by someone else, but eventually it ended up at a thrift store for someone else to cherish it,” said Vazquez.
Two years removed from high school, Vazquez felt that her life was starting to get stagnant. Besides working, she had nothing else going on for her and nothing to strive towards. She decided to give college a shot, joining PCC with the hopes of finding her true passion.
“I felt like I didn’t need to go to college, but as I got older realized it was important to have a college education,” Vazquez said.
Most of her peers from high school did not normally enroll at PCC, as they went to other junior colleges such as East Los Angeles College (ELAC) or Rio Hondo. Vazquez took this opportunity as a fresh start.
“In a way, it’s like a new beginning for me in terms of meeting new people,” she said. I didn’t want to run into the same faces I saw in high school. I wanted a change in ‘scenery’.”
As with many newcomers enrolling in community college, students may feel a sense of anxiety and dread if they’re unsure of what they want to major in. Vazquez was no different. She originally wanted to major in television production, but it wasn’t what she had expected. Something felt off to her and the passion to learn wasn’t there. She was back at square one.
At home, Vazquez found herself fixated on her television, watching countless hours of crime scene investigation shows as it instantly grabbed her attention. After some thought, she decided to switch to administration justice, and she hasn’t looked back since.
“A lot of it has to do with the story behind why someone committed the crime in the first place,” Vazquez said. “Like murder, it could be because it was the heat of the moment or just being upset about something really minuscule, plus it’s really interesting to see the process of how the investigator goes about solving cases.”
Besides having one bad teacher her first semester, Vazquez has thoroughly enjoyed her time at PCC as she half jokingly stated, “Rate My Professor has helped me out a lot with future classes.”
Looking to the future, Vazquez is in the process of moving out of her dad’s home and into her first apartment. While she finds the experience of moving out a bit daunting, she won’t be alone as she will be living with her sister and a couple of close friends.
“Part of the reason why I want to move out is because I want to be independent,” Vazquez said.
Just a couple of years ago, Vazquez had no plans of furthering her education after high school. Now, she’s determined to do whatever it takes to transfer out and graduate. While unsure at the moment of where she would like to transfer to, she hopes to become a DNA analyst or a CSI photographer once she gets her degree.
“If you’re passionate about something, what you’re working towards shouldn’t be a challenge,” she said. “But if you feel like you’re struggling, think of what’s in it for you in the end game if and when you do graduate. There’s going to be a lot of new opportunities coming your way.”