Some people just want to help the world, it is what drives them and what gets them through the tough times. I always admire these people as they seem larger than life and seem to have the world on a string, no matter what happens.
This is the case with Jessica Castro. Nobody would have blamed Jessica if she wanted nothing more than to get a job and live a quiet life, given everything that she has gone through. However, Jessica uses her past trials and tribulations as her motivation to make the world a better place.
I’ll start at the start. Jessica is from the Kapiti coast and completed her Level 1 and Level 2 at our Paraparaumu centre. Before joining Capital Training, Jessica was homeschooled due to being heavily bullied at school when she was younger. For the life of me, I can’t see why she was bullied as she is a friendly and generous young woman. Jessica said that she signed up to Capital Training as it seemed like a good way to get a qualification in a relatively short amount of time (20 weeks). If it were me, I would have been terrified coming in to a new space after being bullied and then homeschooled.
However, Jessica took it in her stride and credits her experience at Capital Training with giving her the self confidence and social skills to achieve her dreams. The tutors were a huge part of that; they talked to Jessica like an equal and always had time for her. Jessica’s fellow learners also played a big role in the increased self-confidence that Jessica found during her time at Capital Training. Nobody judged her and everyone was open. This gave Jessica the confidence to open up a little bit and let her personality shine through. That is actually one piece of advice that Jessica has for new learners - ‘be yourself’.
Being herself is exactly what Jessica does now. Jessica has moved on from Capital Training and is now studying Level 3 Biology and Chemistry at Whitireia and is absolutely loving it. Jessica has plans to go and study Zoology in order to become a qualified conservationist. What a worthwhile profession, given that we are currently experiencing a mass extinction event and need all the help we can get in protecting our endangered fauna and flora.
I was really struck by this; Jessica wants to help the world by protecting its species even though she went through some pretty nasty bullying at school. Where did this need to help and protect come from? Through talking with Jessica for an hour, I discovered that this strength to move on and the desire to help is inherently present in her personality. While she gained self-confidence at Capital Training and the skills to achieve her dreams, she is naturally just a nice person.
Being nice and having good intentions doesn’t get anyone very far though; you need to have a solid work ethic. Jessica has come, and will continue to go, very far because of her dedication and work ethic. The best way to exemplify her work ethic is her part time job. Jessica works at a local restaurant at the same time as studying at Whitireia. Jessica works at the restaurant in order to pay for her studies. I know from personal experience that working while you are studying is challenging, but she manages to make it look easy.
Jessica puts just as much energy and focus in to her job as she does her study. I know this because one of our tutors, Gary, goes to that restaurant once a week and has nothing but praise for the way that Jessica interacts with patrons and goes about her work.
I asked Jessica where she sees herself in 10 years’ time; the answer to which she is unsure. She says that she will be doing something in the world of Zoology. Personally, I have no doubt that in 10 years’ time Jessica will be on the forefront of animal conservation and enjoying life.