When Alain Barrera graduated from Laredo’s J.W. Nixon High School in 1991, he didn’t have anyone to tell him about life’s big picture.
Twenty-three years later, Barrera has gained a new perspective on life and refocused his efforts on completing his education.
“Some of the higher paying jobs require a four-year degree,” said Barrera. “That’s my main focus. You have to be open-minded and optimistic. It’ll be better in the long run. I wish I had that advice when I was younger.”
Laid off from his job as a manager at a local wholesale retail store in 2014, he decided to heed his wife’s advice and enrolled at Texas Southmost College to pursue an associate degree in business administration.
“In the retail world, it’s a lot different because you work more than 60-65 hours a week,” explained Barrera. “Coming back to school has been good, it’s been challenging. Now, it’s all digital. It’s a lot better.”
“I’ve had a great experience at TSC so far,” he added. “It’s been different. You have to focus on the bigger picture. If you don’t study, you don’t pass.”
Barrera, who has two teenage children, takes at least four courses per semester and has embraced TSC’s fully digital learning environment. He enjoys having the additional flexibility of using the tools that the college’s learning management system offers students, as well as its cost savings.
To help make ends meet while he continues his education, Barrera used the severance package he received from his lay off to start a Photo Booth rental business that he could manage while going to school.
“I already got my return on investment,” said Barrera. “Now, I’m promoting the business and it has become a family business. I’m showing my daughter how to talk to customers and build relationships.”
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