Despite challenges, alum balances school, work, family

Finishing college and getting a degree seemed like a stretch to Fabiola Muñoz. But it is now a goal within her reach.

Muñoz graduated from Levelland High School in the top 20 of her class in 2009. In high school, she was intimidated by the thought of being part of a “big” club or organization. But she was a part of Spanish Club, Art Club, and National Honor Society.

Muñoz  said her first choice was not to attend South Plains College.

“But I found out I was pregnant the spring of my senior year,” Muñoz explained. “I had my parents’ full support to continue going with school after graduating. It was just easier for me to stay close to home.”

Muñoz explained that without her parents, going to college wouldn’t have been a possibility.

Muñoz  has gone through changing her major a few times. When she started at SPC in 2009, she was set on getting into the Radiology program. Instead, she got her certification in phlebotomy, before changing her major to business.

“In 2011, I decided to put school aside and focus on my kids and husband, at the time,” Muñoz  said. “The fall semester of 2017, I went back to school and started my application to the physical therapist assistant program, then decided that that career was not for me. I decided to talk to professor Lauren Gregory about finishing my associate’s degree for my Business degree.”

Muñoz  plans to graduate with her associate’s degree in December of this year.

Muñoz said that she wants to be an example for her kids that no matter how old they are, or even though they don’t do things the “cookie cutter” way, they can still reach their goals. It will be harder, but not impossible.

“Up to this day, I am worried that I won’t be able to finish college,” Muñoz said. “Even though it’s so close, it still feels a lifetime away. I know I’m going to finish; it’s just something that is in the back of my mind.”

Muñoz said she believes that SPC is helping her achieve her goals by being helpful with any questions and concerns, or any career major change, that she has had.

“I honestly love how I feel like I can get the one-on-one help from the professor or my advisor,” Muñoz  said. “And how I don’t feel like just a ‘number’ but a student.”

Muñoz  said that unfortunately she hasn’t been able to participate in any extra-curricular activities at SPC. She already has her hands full with work, her three kids and college classes.

Muñoz  currently works at SPCAA (South Plains Community Action Association), in the accounting department. She helps her co-workers process invoices so they get paid. She also works at United Supermarkets as a pharmacy technician. Since she started working at the SPCAA, she only works as needed at the pharmacy.

“It has taken me a long time to choose this career,” Muñoz  said, “but I think what finally pushed me toward this career path is the fact that I know I can help more people by helping them with numbers. I have tried careers that help others in other ways, and I believe I can make a bigger change and be a bigger help behind the scenes in accounting or finance than in person and in the forefront.”

Muñoz said that she wants to learn as much as she can with SPCAA and get as much experience as she can while growing with the company.

Muñoz  said that her favorite part about her career has been how challenging it has been, especially when she decided to take a Business Calculus course in the summer.

She plans on attending Lubbock Christian University in the spring to earn her bachelor’s degree in business finance.

“I have learned that no matter what life throws at you, or how old you are, you can still get a career and have the guidance that you need to achieve that goal,” Muñoz  said. “I have three kids and was working two jobs for about a year and was a full-time student. If I can do it, others can too. Everything is possible.”

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