Holly Martin considers her current studies at NCC to be her "second chance."
Much has happened in Martin's life since the first time she stepped through the college's doors eight years ago when she intended to become a nurse. Driven by a passion for the medical field, she worked as an EMT and then as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) before an injury on the job derailed her and threw her into a whirlwind of worker's compensation claims and dealing with attorneys on a daily basis.
The result, however, was Martin developing a keen interest in the legal field. That interest is what sparked her decision to give college another try.
"Through the course of dealing with worker's compensation, I learned a lot. Even though I have a good lawyer, you have to educate yourself," says Martin. "That's what made me decide to be a paralegal. In this profession, you're still helping people."
Spending nearly a decade away from the classroom didn't deter Martin when it came to getting back into the swing of things at college. She finished up her electives through online learning and returned to campus in the spring of 2013. She learned to quickly appreciate that many of her professors and mentors are well-established in the legal field, and that the paralegal program heavily emphasizes networking. She's also become heavily involved on campus as a member of the PALS paralegal club and also as a member of the Zeta Kappa Psi Sisterhood.
"At first, I wondered if I was going to be able to make friends with younger people – those just coming out of high school into college. But, being involved with clubs really helps," says Martin. "We have varying ages but we all have common bonds, and some of us have developed close friendships. I really enjoy the fundraising aspects of the clubs, also, because we donate our funds to various organizations."
When she crosses the stage in the Spartan Center to receive her degree, Martin will become the first member of her family to graduate college. She has a younger brother who is also enrolled in college, who she's been proud to help through the process and who she hopes to continue to guide toward his own graduation process. Looking toward the future is important to Martin now that she's been able to use NCC as a stepping stone in the right direction.
"I'm excited to do an internship, and I want to find it myself. I think that it shows initiative and it helps to try to do things for yourself," says Martin. "NCC has helped to put me on the path to a four-year college, as well. I came here knowing what I wanted from another career. I want to be a paralegal. Someone has to get the whole story and someone has to keep records for people who are involved in lawsuits. NCC provided me with a unique experience and I'll definitely return to visit and to keep in touch with all of the connections I made here."
Name: Holly Martin
Projected Graduation Date: 2014