Rebecca Ortiz was homeschooled alongside her five younger siblings. When she began high school, it was time to start thinking about her college plans.
Ortiz decided she wanted to be in the medical field and her local college, Greenville Technical College in South Carolina, offered diagnostic medical sonography.
“I thought that’d be cool,” Ortiz said. “I’d be able to not diagnose patients but at least try to figure out what’s wrong with them and then help them on the road to wellness and getting better. So we decided that I would go to Greenville Tech and get an associate’s degree in sonography and then, you know, go out into the workforce.”
After taking dual-credits through Greenville Tech during her junior and senior high school year, Ortiz had completed most of her pre-requisite courses for her degree.
She scored very well on the SAT and a family friend encouraged her to apply to larger colleges to complete her degree rather than stay where she had always been.
She decided if she was going to leave home, she would invest in a bachelor’s degree to make the time away worth it. She researched multiple colleges but none stuck out enough to draw her away from conveniently located Greenville Tech.
“Then, I looked up specifically ‘Catholic universities with a bachelor’s in sonography’ and Newman was at the top of the list,” she said. “So I clicked on that link and started doing some research. I thought, ‘Oh, this looks pretty cool. Maybe I’ll apply here.’ So everything just kind of kept going that way and it just stuck in my head. Every time I’d think about a college, Newman would pop up in my brain. That would be the first one I think about. So yeah, I decided to apply here, got accepted and here I am.”
With only three weeks of college under her belt, Ortiz said she is happy with her decision to move halfway across the country for a degree, though her dorm room is often “too quiet” without her five younger siblings around.
Right now, Ortiz fills her spare time with Chorale and is trying out for ensemble and the upcoming musical, “Elf.” Missing her busy lifestyle back home, she’s looking forward to being more involved as the school year progresses.
This year, she is technically classified as a freshman in order to participate in Traditions and Transitions and other first-year experiences but she will be able to skip her sophomore year due to her accumulated college credit.
Pending her acceptance to the Newman sonography program, Ortiz is excited to meet people who share her major.
“I’ll have something in common with them and I can talk to them about the different aspects of the profession,” she said.
Her experience as a homeschooled student required her to learn to self-teach, something, she said, that has come in handy in college courses.
“Being homeschooled has made it easy for me in a lot of different classes just because if I don’t understand what the teacher’s saying, I can always go back to the textbook and teach it to myself. And that’s just a huge help. I’m so grateful to my parents for that.”
Ortiz stays in touch with her parents and siblings daily but calls are getting more sporadic as the school year picks up, she said. The friendliness of fellow Newman students has helped alleviate any homesickness as well.
“People here are great,” she said. “You do have to try to make friends, people aren’t going to just force themselves into your life. But if you take the initiative to make friends, then people are really welcoming and willing to include you in basically anything you ask to be included in.
“So that’s what I thought was really cool about Newman. People who are older than you are not afraid or against helping you out and being friends with you and welcoming you to the Newman community.”