Kathy Rocchetti raised two children, had a successful administrative career, and had never been to college. When the school district she was employed by began making budget cuts a few years ago, Rochetti looked at her layoff as an opportunity to potentially try something new.
Rocchetti first tried out non-credit leisure courses to test what it would be like to be in a classroom again. She was immediately taken by the process of learning, and began researching the top careers in the country. She had always had an interest in law, and when the paralegal profession continued to reappear as a solid career choice, she ventured to NCC's website, saw that the paralegal program was approved by the American Bar Association, and decided to apply.
"The transition back has been one of the biggest risks that I've taken and something I was really proud that I did all by myself," said Rocchetti. "I came to NCC not knowing one person and with no experience, so I decided before I even entered my first class that I would talk to one new person every single day. I haven't regretted a minute. I absolutely love it and I never want to stop taking a class of some kind."
Rocchetti's positive attitude and desire to be involved led her to become treasurer of the business club last fall. It was through this club that she found out about the Student Leadership program, which she applied for on a whim and put out of her mind. When she found out weeks later that she had been accepted into the program, she was stunned.
"I had to go back and re-read my [application] essay again!" Rocchetti joked. "It's a lot of fun and there's myself and two other women who are nontraditional students. It's amazing how even though we're at different levels of experience, we're all on the same page."
Rocchetti says that she can literally see her peers "blooming" in her law courses, and on the advice of one of them, took an accounting course, fell in love with it and is also in the midst of completing a specialized diploma in accounting as well as her Paralegal associate's.
"My thing was, accounting has to have a right and wrong answer. If it has a wrong answer you can figure out how to get the right answer," explained Rocchetti. "With law and paralegal, as Professor [John] Thomas says, 'it depends'. That's so true with the law. It depends on facts and on so many different items that could make it or break it for you."
As far as "make it or break it" is concerned, Rocchetti is determined to "make it" when it comes to finishing her degree and finding employment in her field. "I just want to make sure I do it all properly," she said. "I'm terrified, but at the same time it's a good kind of terrified. All of the classes kind of link together and it's amazing how they have the general classes you have to take and they're a stepping stone to the major ones that you need. They all work together."
Name: Kathy Rocchetti
Projected Graduation Date: 2014