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Vanessa is a counselor with a focus in College Counseling and Student Services.

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"Don’t compare yourself to others, but rather use others as resources and tools. My parents did not go college, and so I learned everything from my friends at AOC. They were my biggest motivators."

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Vanessa Sermeno
Class of 2015




My career roadmap has been all over the place.

I graduated AOC with my AA-T in Sociology. I then fast-tracked my way through my BA in Psychology at CSU Long Beach. This is something I am not proud of. I had a horrible mindset about just finishing my degree and did not enjoy the ride.

While at CSULB, I worked at the Cashier’s Office helping students understand their tuition and student account. This Student Assistant job helped me realize I wanted to be a resource to others, and continue working in social services.

Although I knew I wanted to work in social services, I was still unsure of the path I should take. I took this opportunity to build my experience and worked as a Human Resources Assistant at an R&D Company, Applied Minds.

Working in HR taught me a lot about people, how teams operate, and how decisions are made. Mainly it taught me that I didn’t want to be an advocate for a company, but rather an advocate for the employee, the applicant, the individual - which sadly is not always HR’s role.

I struggled with how I wanted to go about doing this, and decided the best plan of action for me was to get my Masters in Counseling with a focus on College Counseling and Student Services. I realized I was happiest when I was working at CSULB, and helping students.

Getting a Master’s was financially not in the cards, but remembered at CSULB, that by working at a CSU, you could get your tuition paid for. I made it my mission to work at CSUN, with the goal to not only gain experience, but to get my Master’s paid for.

I am currently an Admin Assistant at CSUN in Financial Services. I had no intention of being in Finance, but this was an opportunity to get my foot in the door. I started in April 2020, and plan to apply for my Masters in Counseling Fall 2021.



Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway


  • Yearbook Editor

  • Working at Edwards Theater and Six Flags


  • Volunteering at Urban Community Outreach Center in Long Beach

  • University Honors Society - CSULB


What I'm currently doing/hope to do

I was hesitant to share my story here, as my path has been unclear from the start. But I decided to do so because my story is a valid one, and I’m sure one that mirrors someone else’s. My experience is the reason I decided to choose a career in Counseling, because I want to normalize uncertainty and help those people who are uncertain find clarity. It’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of life, and it’s okay to change your career later in life. Everything will fall into place, as long as you stay curious and willing to learn.


How to maximize my time in high school?

  • Advice #1: It’s okay to re-evaluate your goals. Sometimes something you thought was a career path, might just be a hobby or vice versa - something you always thought of as a hobby, might actually be your career.

  • Advice #2: Don’t compare yourself to others, but rather use others as resources and tools. My parents did not go college, and so I learned everything from my friends at AOC. They were my biggest motivators.

  • Advice #3: Prioritize your mental health. Take advantage of counseling services online and at school, and talk to people around you about how you’re feeling.

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