“The Road to Success Is Not Always a Straight Line”

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Sara Berry
Manchester, Conn. – (May 28, 2010) . . . She knows her journey has taken longer than necessary, but Sara Berry has no regrets.“I’m just one of those people who really love school,” said Berry, of Windsor Locks, who on May 27 was among 737 students to graduate during Manchester Community College’s 46th annual commencement ceremony.
Unlike many of her classmates, this will not be the first time Berry receives a college diploma, as she earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Hartford in 2004. This also is not the last time she expects to don a cap and gown, as she plans to attend Central Connecticut State University in the fall to pursue yet another bachelor’s degree.
Confused? Well, Sara has been, too, at times, as she has struggled to settle on a career path. First she wanted to be a teacher, then a pharmacist, but now is committing to the social work arena, perhaps to work with at-risk youths.
“There are times I look back and say, ‘I could have done this differently,’” said Berry. “But overall, I don’t know that I ever would have figured out what I really wanted to do if I hadn’t done things this way.” Stephania H. Davis, an assistant professor of journalism at MCC and faculty advisor to Live Wire student newspaper – which Berry edited the past year – puts it differently.“The road to success is not always a straight line,” said Davis. “Sometimes it curves.”
Berry, 28, graduated from Windsor Locks High School in 2000 and majored in history at UHart. She thought teaching would be satisfying – until she volunteered to teach CCD class to a group of eighth-graders.“It was excruciating,” she said, adding, “I didn’t need a four-year degree to babysit.”
During her UHart years, Berry worked part-time at a local pharmacy and enjoyed the job. So after graduating, she decided to start anew in that field, and enrolled at MCC to take math and science courses that she thought would help her transfer to a school with a strong pharmaceutical program. Only one problem -- chemistry was a killer.
Time for Plan C.
Berry had always liked classes in psychology, sociology, even criminal justice, which led her to double major in human services and liberal arts, the latter with a psychology concentration. She also had two internships – one with the True Colors gay and lesbian support group, the other with a youth service bureau. These experiences convinced her she had finally found her calling.
Berry also has used her MCC years to make up for missed opportunities. She has always liked singing, but at UHart found the musical programs too intense for someone of her self-professed modest talents. At MCC, though, she taken as many choir classes with Prof. Deborah Simmons as is possible, and enjoyed herself immensely.
“Deb is so welcoming,” said Berry, adding that the program “is all about the experience, and about you enjoying what you are doing.” Berry also loves to write, and said the Live Wire offered her the perfect outlet. “I’ve loved it,” she said of her work in the Live Wire office. “Any time I’m on campus – if I’m not in a class, that’s where I’ve been.”
Davis said Berry has been a dedicated editor and is the kind of woman that others should emulate – and not just because of her journalistic endeavors. “Despite setbacks and false starts, she has never given up on the idea that education is the way to get ahead, no matter what field you choose,” Davis said.
At Central, Berry plans to major in psychology and social work, with a possible minor in journalism. In the meantime, though, there’s yet another graduation to take part in – her third, if you count high school.
For Berry, such ceremonies never grow old. “You invest all that time and money and energy,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine missing it.”
Article written by Jim Farrell.
News Item Posted On: May 28, 2010
For Additional Information Contact: Endia DeCordova-Murphy at (860) 512-2914