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Julie Allen – grandmother, learner, non-traditional student


“I have new OC friends that are military, unemployed, Running Start, and just starting out. We all have something in common. We are OC.”

Why did you choose OC?

I lost my job, and during the unemployment process, WorkSource had offered going back to school as an option. I looked into it and decided this would be a good fit.  When one door closes a window opens.  For me OC is that window.

What are you studying at OC? What are your educational goals?

Business Management is the goal.  I am now six weeks in and have three tests behind me!  One quarter at a time.

What do you want to do as a career?

I am still mourning the loss of my old job.  But there is a future, and I am moving on. A future career I would enjoy would be to help kids is some way.

What has been your favorite class at OC?

This is my first quarter so I do not have a long list to choose from.   I like them all.  I have met so many incredible folks.  I think that is what has made it easier to attended OC at my age.  The student population is so diverse.  I have new friends that are military, unemployed, Running Start, and just starting out.  We all have something in common. We are OC.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Family! I have 4 adorable grandchildren and I want to spend as much time as I can with them. 

How has OC inspired you?

OC has inspired me to move on after losing my job. 

Are there additional thoughts you can share about yourself?

Here is an OC class assignment I did that sums up how I feel about starting out at OC:

The “I Am OC” motto intimidated me.  It was later in the day of the Gen-S 101 Orientation that this motto started to sink-in; just maybe I am OC.  My journey to OC started at WorkSource.  A “Mandatory Orientation to Reemployment Services” is required at WorkSource. It helps the unemployed look at options to either find a new job or get training for a new one.  Little did I know that day those were my first steps to “I am OC.”

From those doors of WorkSource to the doors of the office of Miste Damrill-Leib at OC, all I am thinking is OC.  “Back to school…me?”  Old memories of painful school experiences flood in and then the rejection of a job loss cloud my thoughts with more doubts. Me at OC?   But then there it is, in black and white:  Gen-S101 Orientation. Miste has added it in and I don’t ask questions.  So I mark the day, Saturday, September 17, 2011 and think and think….me at OC?

Saturday comes and my family smiles with a cheer. They say: “Have fun at school today” and “Let’s take your picture.” Family tradition set down by me many years ago with my children.   First day of school we line up and smile!  Traditions hold true no matter when a student journey begins.  A smile and a few clicks of the camera, and off I go…me to OC.

Orientation to College, room ST-147.  There I am listening to each class member saying their name, and course of study. They also added a question for fun: “What is your favorite cartoon character?” to make that personal connection and I am thinking, “They are OC.”

It’s not until Module 2 (of the course) when I start writing the poem “I am” that the pieces start to fall into place. I begin to fill in the obvious: I am a wife, mother, daughter and “Oma” then I add a few hobbies and interests, but in the back of my mind I am thinking, “Can I really say it… ‘I am OC?’”  No one is telling me to say I am OC.  No one has told me to go to OC.  But that door opened when one closed and I sat in on a class at WorkSource. The seeds of “I am OC” began to take hold and germinated on Saturday September 17, 2011 that “I am OC”.  The motto is not intimidation any longer, but a statement of commitment to myself.  A statement of commitment to each seating here in this class…I am OC.

To those juniors in high school enrolled in Running Start to those of us who receive unemployment checks and grandkids kisses. You are OC. WE are OC! 

It turns out that I am not the only one who had the tradition of first day pictures…..two from this class asked if I would take theirs while walking to our cars. Smile, Class of 2013!

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