Student struggles and succeeds

By Stacie Armijo, Staff Reporter | Photo by Stacie Armijo

Liberal Arts major, Lupe Fuentes, loves CNM so much, that even after graduating with a degree in Integrated Studies, she is staying on to get a second degree in Liberal Arts, and was recently hired as a full-time administrative tech in the Facilities and Planning Department, she said.
“I love coming to CNM for the sense of community,” she said.
Although Fuentes has been taught math, science, and English, what she really learned in college is the strength within herself, she said.
Fuentes admitted when she first came to college she was terrified, but with the help of the faculty and staff she found the confidence she needed, she said.
“I got the courage and confidence I needed to pursue my dream,” she said.
Once she finishes her Liberal Arts degree, Fuentes plans on attending UNM to obtain a bachelor’s degree in studio art with a minor in art management, she said.
Fuentes has taken several art classes here at CNM and found a passion for it, despite the fact that she was not very experienced with art before, she said.
“I am not a natural born artist. I am not the kind of person that can go in and draw a beautiful picture,” she said
Eventually, Fuentes learned the techniques she needed to know, and now she can draw and paint because of the patience of her art instructors, she said.
“The instructors here bring out the best of you,” she said.
Fuentes credits her teachers for inspiring her to get involved with school, she said.
Among those teachers are Peggy Brock, Jack Ehn, and Rebecca Aronson, she said.
“They made school interesting, and are near and dear to my heart,” she said.
Fuentes is a nontraditional student, because she came back to school after all of her children had grown, and had some problems with classes when she first came back, she said.
But Sally Moore from CNM Connect helped Fuentes get in touch with a one-on-one tutor, so Fuentes could move ahead academically, she said.
“She recognized that I didn’t learn the traditional way and needed a little extra help,” she said.
Fuentes said that the tutors at ACE are all great when you need general help, but some students like herself just need a little help from one consistent person.
For Fuentes, that person was Steve Severance, who helped her one-on-one to succeed in her class, she said.
“I ended up finishing math statistics with an A because of him,” she said.
Fuentes said at one point she was getting a little frustrated with school, homework and the time spent at school, which was taking away from her family.
Fuentes has four children, aged 27 to 32, and six grandchildren, all of whom she wanted to spend more time with, she said.
“I wanted to devote time to my children, grandchildren and boyfriend. I learned that everything is a journey and if I do what I am supposed to, show up to school every day and do my best I would be rewarded with something valuable for life,” she said.
She stuck with school, however, and was rewarded with an education, she said.
Fuentes said she thinks that although it may be hard to stay in school sometimes, and that sometimes financial burdens can be overwhelming, if one is patient and works hard, it will all be worth it in the end.
“Everything good comes with time. If everything came quickly we wouldn’t appreciate the journey,” she said.
Fuentes said that coming back to school was one of the best things she has ever done.
“I have learned that anything is possible and there is always time to follow your dreams,” she said.

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