Student Spotlight: Vanessa Figueroa

female with brown hair wearing glasses outside in a lawn area

Thursday, April 18, 2024

By Deanna Rea

Bakersfield College is constantly evolving to meet student's individual needs through various programs and resources which promote student engagement and success. These unique programs can provide support for students who are feeling uncertain about the next steps of their academic journey.

Vanessa Figueroa never considered herself an ace student before attending Bakersfield College, but after experiencing the loss of her mother, Vanessa decided to channel her energy toward her academic pursuits and fulfill the promise of making her proud. She is currently studying Communications and is set to complete this semester with a 4.0 GPA. When asked what led her to Bakersfield College, she stated that being native to Bakersfield played a big part in her decision, and her sister being an alum.

Since her return in the Spring of 2023, Vanessa has excelled in her academics, however, it was no easy feat. As a single mom of two, returning to school has brought some challenges, “I’m not gonna lie, it has been hard. With two kids, [it’s hard] to stay focused on a task,” she says, “I have to do my homework in the early mornings before they’re awake, or really late at night when they’re sleeping. I’ve struggled so many times.”

Vanessa is currently a part of the EOPS, CARE, and CalWORKs programs here on campus which she says she would recommend to other students in need. This support, along with the strength of faith and family, has inspired Vanessa to persevere through some difficult times.

Her favorite part about attending Bakersfield College is “...that you can go at your own pace,” she says, “like you’re not rushed. There are online courses and in-person courses - the flexibility it has to fit anyone’s schedule is something I love. It is really flexible here at BC.” When asked if she would recommend Bakersfield College to anyone she knew, she exclaimed, “Of course! I’m trying to get one of my friends to do it. I’m like come on, you can even do it online too! Anyone can get an education.”

Vanessa is set to graduate this May and plans to continue studying Communications at CSUB with an emphasis in Journalism. She hopes to land a career in television broadcasting, such as delivering the news, which has been a goal of hers ever since she was little.

Her advice for students going through similar experiences is, “Don’t give up. I know it sounds cliche, but seriously, you could fall so many times, but your comeback is what matters the most. And to all the single parents, you can do it. I’ve been through a lot and I think if I can do it, anyone can. Just don’t give up. Keep trying. Keep showing up.”