By Destiny Camacho
Celeste Pineda’s college journey began like everyone else, a hopeful freshman making her way into a new chapter in life. She joined Our Lady of the Lake as a psychology major in 2005. Pineda’s goal was to become a counselor or a therapist. After four years of not liking her classes, not taking assignments seriously and skipping, she decided to take a break from her education.
“Instead of wasting my time I decided I would take a break and I wouldn’t come back to school until I knew for sure what I wanted to do and I knew I was 100% ready.” Pineda said.
During her time away she didn’t stop living her life. Pineda got a full-time job as an apartment manager, traveled, moved out and got married. She made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t return to college until she knew she was ready and she knew what she wanted to do.
Before she left, Pineda was put on academic probation. In 2014, she thought about transferring to the University of Incarnate Word, but the tuition was too high. In order to come back to OLLU, she had to attend meetings with financial aid advisers, sign a lot of papers promising she’d get her grades up, and soon she received a letter stating she was removed from the academic probation list. With a renewed outlook, she began working diligently on her new major mass communications.
“It hasn’t been easy.” Pineda said with a smile.
After 13 years, Pineda will finally be walking the graduation stage. The long journey to the stage is quite special on its own, but Pineda’s is made even more special as her mother will be graduating from UIW, with a Bachelor’s degree in organizational development, the same weekend.
Pineda wants to have a job within her major one day but she’s not going to rush into it. She said that her work has been very kind with her schedule and she wants to give them the courtesy that they’ve given her.
No matter her struggles Pineda found a way to complete her degree. She would register for four classes or just one, at all hours of the day. She never gave up and now she will be walking the stage at Freeman Coliseum, May 10.