'I learned to adapt'
Student of the Week: Natalie Longoria
Entering college, Natalie Longoria believes it’s essential to take charge of your education. Through her experience, Natalie says learning how to take criticism and using the critiques of her peers was necessary to improve and adapt.
Now, more than 10 years since initially leaving college to focus on a medical career, Natalie is close to finishing her Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy at South Texas College.
Entering STC straight out of high school in 2008, but without a clear career pathway, Natalie said she decided to take a break after a few semesters. She began working in the medical field as a medical assistant until deciding to return to college the fall of 2018. When she re-enrolled, she opted for a degree in Respiratory Therapy.
She is currently the President for the Respiratory Club at STC, and volunteers her time at community events.
“My experiences working in the medical field have shown me that helping others in their time of need is my true calling,” Natalie said. “I believe STC is ideal because it is close to home, it has great educational opportunities with a diverse range of degrees to choose from, it’s affordable, and I enjoy the environment.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience at STC since the beginning of my educational journey. The instructors have all been great leaders and have challenged and motivated me to excel.”
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience at STC since the beginning of my educational journey,” she said. “The instructors have all been great leaders and have challenged and motivated me to excel.”
Graduates of the Respiratory Therapy Program at South Texas College earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. The program is five semesters in length and combines classroom, laboratory and clinical education experiences.
The program prepares students’ knowledge, skills, and ethics that will enable them to gain employment as a licensed respiratory therapist. The student are geared to complete and pass exit exams for graduation in preparation to take their national boards exams.
Natalie says her goal is to earn her associate degree and go on to work in a hospital setting in the Rio Grande Valley. She would ultimately like to pursue a bachelor degree in respiratory care and continue to serve her community in a healthcare setting, she said.
“My approach to college is to keep my goals in mind and do everything to the best of my ability. My son and my family are my driving force to stay motivated and achieve my goals. My parents are constantly on my mind when school work gets tough or becomes stressful,” she said. “They are both hard working individuals who have taught me that nothing comes easy, and if I want to succeed I have to make sacrifices and put in the work.
“I’d like to tell my peers that commitment is a big part of being successful in college,” she said. “It’s ok to make mistakes and to fail as long as you learn from those failures and strive to be better. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to achieve your goals, as long as you never give up and you continue to work hard for what you want.