In her freshman year, Rodriguez slipped from the graduation track and fell far enough behind that panic ensued in the coming years. The 17-year-old said by the end of her sophomore year, she knew things had gone completely wrong.
“I feel like I was still really immature,” Rodriguez said. “I felt that I had a middle school mind and I used to think ‘I don’t have to pass these classes to get out.’ I just didn’t do my work and I didn’t really worry about school or see how important it was until about the end of sophomore year. I knew I needed to get back on track and get my credits back up.”
It was Rodriguez’s cousin, who had just finished crossing the stage and capping her high school career, who opened her eyes to the importance of a high school diploma. After two years of inefficient study habits, Rodriguez knew the road to recovery would not come easy.
“I have been having to stay after school a lot, especially during the first semester of junior year it was almost every day,” she said. “I did a lot of classes online and sometimes at lunch I would go into a class to ask for help and figure different things out.
“English has always been the hardest subject for me. I am really bad at English and I always used to pass that class with a D. So I would almost always go into that class to work with the teacher and try to work on work that didn’t make sense to me.”
Rodriguez works diligently during and after school in her attempt to regain a decent grade point average. She has also become active in Leadership, which has allowed her to help plan events such as Homecoming and Prom and increase her interaction with goal-oriented students.
Rodriguez plans to attend Truckee Meadows Community College after graduation and she would like to study medicine in hopes of becoming a nurse. She said her interest in pediatrics, and her love for kids, has fueled her desire to work in medicine, but she feels pediatrics would require “too much schooling.”
“Whenever I would visit a hospital I would see the nurses and it always seemed like something that I would like to do and I think I would be good at,” she said. “Interacting with patients and people, I think, would be really fun.”
Looking back at her triumphs and shortfalls in high school, Rodriguez said she feels better prepared to handle the different things life will throw at her. She said the most important thing she has learned is to attack her goals right away rather than put them off.
“I think the biggest lesson I learned from having to catch up on my grades in high school is get things right the first time instead of having to go through it a second time because it is much harder,” she said.