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Overcoming Adversity: The Unforgettable Story Of Nadia Marquez

Meet CTU Student Nadia MarquezNadia Najat Marquez's academic journey at CTU began with a phone call, but her life before that moment was defined by a series of hardships that has only strengthened her resolve. Originally from Ogden, Utah, Nadia is of half-Navajo descent. She grew up on the Four Corners region of New Mexico where, as a teenager, she was taken out of public high school because of a debilitating heart condition. Despite surgeries and side-effects Nadia still managed to complete her homeschooling and graduate at the age of 16--a full 2 years early.

Nadia started attending community college, but life had other plans for her. "Over the next 10 years I held many different jobs, many of which I was truly appreciative to have held," Nadia explained in a recent letter to her CTU advisor. "Overall, I had become an independent individual, but I wasn't fully satisfied in my career goals and achievements. I aspired to have a degree and a great job that allowed me to live a comfortable life."

Although she had the support of friends and family--whom she thanks for pulling her through an especially dark period of her life--Nadia eventually found herself standing on the front stoop of her home, holding a notice from her landlord that had been wedged in the front door. The property was being sold. Nadia only had a month to vacate.

At the time, Nadia had been considering going back to school, but as moving day loomed, it seemed like she would once again have to put her family before her academic goals. "The last day of moving, I was cleaning the carpets" Nadia writes. "When I finished I stood in the living room looking at the now emptied house that I had spent the last three years in, the house I brought my son home to, the memories we had made, and I felt I was losing it all, and I dropped to my knees and began to cry."

That's when the phone rang.

At first Nadia though it was a telemarketer, so she answered like anyone would. She explains, "This voice that I will never forget said 'Nadia,' and I replied, 'Yes...what?'" That voice belonged to John Ciszewski, an advisor at Colorado Technical University. He wanted to know if Nadia still wanted to go back to school. He listened to Nadia's story, and then asked her the question that would change her life forever, "What kind of life and career would you want if you had nothing in your way to stop you?"

Together, they began to build the academic plan that lead Nadia to pursue a degree in accounting at CTU. "When we hung up a sense of hope and dignity had been instilled in my heart that I thought was gone forever," Nadia writes.

As her first semester rolled around, Nadia worried that she'd lost the knowledge and know-how to be a student, but she quickly proved herself wrong. With the use of CTU Fast Track™ challenge exams--and the occasional pep talk from John---she was able to complete four years’ worth of classwork in just two years. Today, she's a 27-year-old single mother who is just a few months from graduation. Her name regularly appears on the Dean's list, and she's already landed a job as an associate accountant at a consulting firm in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Nadia has never met John Ciszewski in person, but they continue to talk on a regular basis. "I spoke with John today over the phone." she writes. "I apologized to him for being so harsh to him in the beginning. I thanked him repeatedly for being my support and reminding me every day what it was I was initially working toward, and for being my friend when I didn't have one."

She hopes that he can be at her graduation in November 2015. It will be the end of one incredible chapter in her life, and the start of a brand new one that is rich with possibilities. In the meantime, Nadia likes to keep one eye on her two growing boys and one eye on the future. It's looking brighter than ever.

Career success will depend largely on the effort put into studies, job search efforts, experience and attitude. The experience of this alumnus is not representative of all students. This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields.