A career, not just a job

Crystal Sanchez

There is no agreement on the origin of the aphorism "Youth is wasted on the young," (George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde have been credited, and there is the appearance in It's a Wonderful Life), but you can certainly find agreement on the sentiment on any college campus.

Crystal Sanchez

Thankfully, at Tompkins Cortland there is the Pathways Scholarship for adult students, which often manages to catch its recipients at a point in life when youthful mistakes may still be unwoven and hopefully transformed into colorful stories of character to be shared at future, festive occasions.

Crystal Sanchez had her share of youthful turmoil. "Ninth grade I was actually kicked out of high school and locked up in a facility for five or six months. I was always fighting, and I didn't do any of my work. Then I was looking at all of my friends moving along in life, and I thought 'I should have had a degree at 22.' And here I was, 24, no degree."

After she had graduated from high school, she worked and helped take care of her grandmother. When her grandmother passed last year, it was the impetus for Crystal to go to College. "I knew Alexis (Dengel, Pathways Coordinator), and I knew I wanted to go back to school. I look at these kids up here, and I knew I wouldn't have been ready at that age. I was too concerned with my social life."

With two children to care for, and a job with Cornell dining services, she knew she wanted to get at least an associate degree. She entered the Chemical Dependency Counseling degree program, and also received the Pathways Scholarship.

"I don't want to be the typical person who says they came back for their kids. I also came for myself, to better my life. I can't live off $8.50 my whole life. My plan is to graduate and then transfer to a four-year school. I want a career, not just a job."