I spoke with Jessica (CRSM ’07, Loyola University ’14) about her extended stays in the hospital during the school year, her experiences in the workplace and her quest to find passion for a career.
The following conversation has been edited and condensed.
First of all, thanks for taking the time for us. I know your job in human resources at the City of Waukegan keeps you really busy.
Busier than ever! I just received a promotion to HR Manager. But I will always have time for Cristo Rey; they played an important role in my life. I’m proud to say I was one of the thirteen in the first graduating class of CRSM.
Congratulations on your promotion! What made you decide to apply to the “new” CRSM in 2007?
My twin sister met someone from CRSM at a job fair and made it clear to me that Cristo Rey was the future. I jumped in as a sophomore and loved every minute of it.
You said you enjoyed school, but health issues made school more difficult than it should have been. Can you talk about that?
Sure. I was very sick when I was younger. It was a serious childhood illness and it took quite a while to get it under control. It landed me in the hospital for weeks at a time – but my sister helped, bringing my assignments to me, so I could keep up with school work.
It’s so impressive that you were able do well in spite of that challenge, how did your Work Study experiences go?
I loved my all my Work Study jobs – in payroll, in accounting and in human resources. My mother works for the Waukegan Police Department, so I was able to take summer jobs working for the city. I learned early how life-changing it is when an adult, in the workplace, appreciates you for a job well done. Your confidence soars. The truth is that both my parents and Cristo Rey enabled me to do well at work.
Were your parents just as supportive around your goals for college?
They were great. I didn’t graduate from Loyola University until 2014. I was working and going to school, trying different majors to find something I loved: Pre-Med, Accounting and Accounting & Finance. It wasn’t until I worked with the YWCA of Lake County, training CRSM students, that I realized how much I enjoyed helping people and how much I love working in HR.
And congrats again, a degree from Loyola University and a recent promotion. Do you have any advice for our student readers?
Well, in light of my experiences with graduation delays, with waiting for promotions and the time it took to find a field I could be passionate about, I’d say: be patient. Don’t give up; you’ll get there.