February 8, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 8, 2017) – All students experience an adjustment period when they first enter college as they face a new environment and more demands on their time. Adriana Comerford, a Tallahassee Community College student from Brazil, has had additional barriers to overcome.
Comerford left school at 14 years old because of health issues. When she came to the U.S. in 2002, she didn’t speak any English. She wasn’t sure if she’d be able to complete her education.
“I thought college was way out of my reach because I didn’t have a high school diploma,” she said.
Comerford took English for Speakers of Other Languages courses for three years, then decided to pursue her GED diploma. She then considered the possibility of taking college-credit courses at TCC. Though she feared she wouldn’t succeed, she persevered through her doubts and decided to enroll.
“Can you imagine not having gone through high school, having to get a GED in a second language, then going to college? It was hard,” she said. Comerford chose to pursue an associate degree in network systems technology, a field that captured her interest from a young age.
Her determination to learn more about technology eased her through tough times.
“The anxiety and low self-esteem would get to me,” she said. “I wondered, am I going to be able to do this job when I graduate?” She sought support from TCC’s Learning Commons and Career Center, which gave her reassurance to pursue her goals.
With the help of the Career Center, Comerford put together a resume that helped her land an internship with client support services in TCC’s information technology department. In her position, she sets up computers, troubleshoots hardware issues and performs repairs.
“The team has about five guys, and I’m the only female technician,” she said. “I look up to my boss because she’s a woman in the IT field. She took me under her wing and said, ‘You’re going to be fine.’”
Comerford plans to graduate in the spring of 2017 and pursue a career in networking.
“I’m an A student not because I’m a genius, but because of hard work,” she said. “Hard work is how I started, and it’s how I’m going to finish.”