Once-reluctant Mid-State student finds success outside her comfort zone
Ashley Jaramillo, Plainfield, is poised to graduate from Mid-State Technical College’s Business Management program this Sunday, but it wasn’t always a given that she would achieve the milestone.
Straight out of high school Jaramillo had started at Mid-State but found it wasn’t the right time for her. A few years later, sitting in her car before work and scrolling through Facebook, she realized her friends were getting degrees and buying houses. She thought, “I have a husband, I have a great family and I have a job…, but I felt like I hadn’t done anything else for myself.”
At Mid-State, Jaramillo would soon rewrite her expectations of college life. “I was scared since I thought it was going to be lecture halls,” she said. Once she realized that she was able to connect with instructors, she grew more comfortable and started to look at everything available to her. She decided to get involved.
“Opportunities start to come to you when you branch out and make connections with others and instructors,” said Jaramillo. “You can be that student who shows up and does homework and leaves, but it’s great to open up and talk to others. You get so much more out of your educational experience.”
Jaramillo has loved a lot of things about being a Mid-State student, but her work as a tutor for a fellow student who is visually impaired stands out the most. “When I committed to helping her, I also dedicated myself to being successful,” she said. “It’s a team effort.” Not only were both students successful, they both grew and changed from the experience. “There’s a lot that she taught me too—it really goes both ways.”
In the end, Jaramillo achieved far more at Mid-State than she ever expected, including being inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. “I studied so hard for my first exam back at Mid-State, and it paid off. I got my first 100 on any exam I had ever taken in my life, and it felt so good…. I wanted to feel like that again and again.” She also had the chance to represent Mid-State as a student ambassador, sharing her positive experiences with other students, staff, prospective students, community members and business partners.
Juggling family, a job, academics and just life in general was hard, but as Jaramillo puts it, “You can’t quit because life got hard.” Her next challenge? Figuring out where her passion lies to guide her to her next career. “I am no longer afraid to take the leap and begin my own business,” she said. “Success is knowing which risks to take, and how to eliminate risks.”
For Jaramillo’s full story and on-camera interview, visit mstc.edu/gradspotlight.