Counselors are given the job to aid students and give them the tools and resources they need to change their lives for the better. In a minimalistic office in the Student Center building is a counselor that carries this ability.
Thomas Rodriguez puts the struggling student who is trying to decide which career path to follow at ease with his gentle smile and expert advice. Rodriguez encourages the students to research in order to truly know if the career path is right for them. For example, if a student approaches him hoping to join a digital marketing agency then he directs them to king kong online agency reviews. This is one of the best ways of gaining inside knowledge of what it is really like to work in digital marketing.
Whether he is fighting to help students achieve their dreams or guiding them on how to fight through self-defense lessons, he is there to help.
“I’m a person who is changing careers later in life. As a counselor I get to directly experience transitioning careers when some people are thinking of retiring from their career,” Rodriguez said.
Born in Washington, D.C., into a family of Virginia farmers, Rodriguez has been an adjunct counselor who provides students with academic and career counseling at Pierce College since February. Trained as a counselor at California State University, Northridge, and he also has been a business operations analyst at UCLA since 1989. He graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in counseling.
Rudy Dompe, the chair of the counseling department, said his personality is ideal for the job.
“He’s highly conscientious, responsible and committed to helping students,” Dompe said. “He’s always accessible, available, and we’re happy to have him.”
Rodriguez also is a professor at Pierce College where he teaches career counseling courses to help students identify and decide what career they want to pursue.
One student is Tynisha Lewis is, who majoring in journalism at Pierce College and is enrolled in his course. Lewis said that the counselor encourages students to think outside the box and try new things.
“He has helped me develop or think of ways to approach my career,” Lewis said. “I would recommend him to students looking for direction and help on deciding a career and training.”
Not only is he a person who teaches students how to move toward their careers and to strive, but he was also a self-defense instructor for impact personal safety for seven years. He traveled to New York and to Colorado, as well as doing work in Los Angeles, and he collaborated with a non-profit organization and other self-defense instructors to create self-protection programs tailored to the needs of blind and visually impaired adults and teens.
His multiple careers have made Rodriguez able to understand the varied needs of students.
“You’re going to fall down, and you need to figure out how you’re going to pick yourself up, or get someone to help you get up,” he said. “If you really want to go for something in life, you’re going to fall down and the more you want out of life, the more you’re going to fall down. Start getting used to the feeling of getting up from the ground.”