In 2020, Yvonne Delgado’s life went through significant changes. She was going through a bad divorce and custody battle, and she lost her father to COVID-19 while her mother was in the hospital with the same disease. She had spent 20 years in the banking industry but the stress of all she was going through caused her to lose her job.
“It was one thing after another,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do with my life? Do I want to go back into the banking industry?’ At that time, I was lost and didn’t know what to do.”
Yvonne had never been motivated to go to school before. It wasn’t a priority growing up.
“I didn’t care. I wanted to have fun and party,” she said. “I kick myself in the butt now. What if I had done this a long time ago? I would have been so much better off financially. I just wish I chose different from what I did.”
“I was excited, nervous, stressed, and emotional,” she said. “I had just lost my father. I was thinking, ‘Can I really focus? Can I do this?’ In the beginning, I was just like a train, just going and going and going. I put a lot of hours in. It was stressful.”
In less than three months, Yvonne had achieved honor roll status in her MA program.
“I was so proud of myself,” she said. “Just being there every day is the main factor. You have to feel it. You have to want it. This is not a program you can just try out. You have to have the passion for it. Without the passion, you will leave or drop out. I was one of the oldest students, so I was the mama of the class. I was always trying to support my classmates. They would come to me. I looked up to them and they looked up to me. When they needed assistance or help, I was there to support them.”
Yvonne had support in her corner as well. She ended up meeting the love of her life while she was in the program, and she felt great support from her instructor and the staff at the school as well.
“They are passionate and caring,” she said. “They are willing to help in any way possible. They are willing to help or resolve or help with selfcare too. It’s something that changed my life and is continuing to change on a daily basis. It’s a chapter of my life that is very meaningful.”
“She was very dedicated,” said Pablo Dominguez, Yvonne’s instructor. “She went through some hard times, but she didn’t let anything get in her way. She cried it out and kept moving forward … It sucks that they have to go through it, but it feels good knowing I was on their side, helping them through it, pushing them.”
Yvonne took advantage of every opportunity the school offered. Through the school, she was able to volunteer regularly at a clinic while she went through her program and her grades never fell below a 4.0. Her secret through it all was pushing forward.
“It made me more confident that I can do what I’m meant to do,” she said. “I told everyone it’s never too late. I’m 46 and starting a whole new career that is totally different from banking. It’s something I want my kids to see as well. If you have the training, you can pursue it. If you want to do something or be someone, there is nothing stopping you. You are the one who is going to get yourself to that point. You will succeed no matter what. You will have your ups and downs, but you can do it. You just have to stay positive.
At the end of her program, Yvonne was named the valedictorian of her class. She was offered a position at the clinic where she volunteered but she decided to focus on caring for her mother instead for the time being. Her father would have wanted that.
“I always had him there. He was the one that I strive to do the best for,” Yvonne said. “When I graduated as valedictorian for the class and I got my high school diploma, that was something we talked about when he was alive, and I did it.”