One week before he was supposed to go to orientation at a Missouri four-year university, Erik Vazquez realized he didn’t want to go to a school that was three hours away from home. So Erik decided to stay at home and go to SCC, a move he says he doesn’t regret.
“I applied to SCC on a whim,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on going here, but after I talked to my friends and looked up the classes, I knew I made a good decision.”
Since a four-year university was his first idea, Erik wasn’t sure what to expect at a community college, but it worked out better than he thought.
“The classes turned out great and I really like the teachers,” Erik said. “Since the classes are smaller, the teachers know who you are and they care about how you’re doing in their classes.” He is not afraid to ask for help or talk to one of his teachers one-on-one, and he’s made a lot of connections.
One professor stands out – Anna Boulware, SCC professor of accounting, who encouraged him to apply for an accounting summer program at the University of Denver. He was reluctant since he had only taken one accounting class, but he applied and was selected. The five-day college residency program was funded entirely by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Erik said he learned a lot about accounting and now considers it a career option. “At first, I wanted to study marketing, but then I was told I should study international business because I am fluent in Spanish,” he said. “But now, I’m leaning more towards accounting.”
Erik’s parents are originally from Mexico and Eric spent the first five years of his life in Mexico, but he loves living in St. Louis. “My dream job right now would be to work for a big accounting firm in St. Louis,” Erik said. “Wherever I end up, I want to be close to my family.”
Erik has a 14-year-old sister who will be starting high school soon, and he wants to stick around and help her out. Neither of their parents graduated high school, so he wants to set a good example for his sister.
He has set an example by earning a 4.0 GPA, and becoming the vice president for Student Ambassadors. Plus he wants to get more involved this year. After SCC, Erik plans to transfer to UMSL to get his bachelor’s degree. But for now, he is appreciating his time at SCC.
“SCC has made the transition from high school to college a lot easier,” he said. “I have a great opportunity to do something successful with my life.”