Rachel Sabatino, ’14, was a cosmetologist in New York City in her twenties, but her license didn’t transfer when she moved to Georgia.
“I did eventually get my [Georgia] license, but was faced with a choice of putting time and energy into building a new book of clients or finally earning a four-year degree,” she said. “I chose the degree.”
With the future unknown, Sabatino made the decision to enroll in 2008 as a psychology major at the age of 35, choosing GGC because it was affordable and close to home.
“I was so excited that there was a four-year college nearby,” she said. “I could be close to my children while pursuing a degree, and I would be able to graduate without a mountain of debt. I wanted to be part of GGC and its growth. It was my fresh start.”
Unfortunately, her fresh start came to an abrupt halt a year later. Sabatino faced an ending marriage and struggled to focus on her studies. She withdrew from classes in 2010, finalized her divorce in 2011 and lost her house in 2012, despite working four jobs to make ends meet. She and her kids moved in with her mother, but she never gave up on her dream of a college degree, and she re-enrolled in 2012.
“I wanted to prove to myself I could do it," she said. "I wanted to show myself that I was smart enough.”
Sabatino thrived, and was a standout to her professors.
“Rachel was a great student with a curiosity and drive for learning,” said Dr. Steven Platek, professor of psychology. “Rachel was one of those students who asked great questions in class and went above and beyond what was taught in the classroom to answer her questions.”
She also made an impression on Dr. Stephan Desrochers, associate professor of psychology.
“She was a diligent and enthusiastic student, and a good writer,” Desrochers said. “I think that most successful people have those same qualities. Success takes consistent work, and Rachel did the work at GGC to become a successful student.”
Sabatino currently works as an underwriter at an insurance agency, a promotion she received within a few years of working at the agency.
“I have worked my way up and the future looks bright,” she said. “I own my own home again, and I've been able to help both of my children with their college expenses. I know a lot of that success has to do with GGC giving me a chance at a new life! It was a safe place for me, and I knew my children were watching me, learning from me and cheering me on. My heart is tied to GGC.”