My name’s Leila, I’m from Los Angeles, and I’m 57 so I’ve got a lot going on. Calbright has been a terrific experience that actually fits my life. 

I’d studied a lot of things. I was an English major at first, then I studied law, before raising my two children. Then when my son died a few years ago and I was grieving, I said ‘Ah, I’ve got to do something new!’ so I’ve been looking for a career I can succeed at and enjoy ever since. 

I was really struggling, when a neighbor who saw me kept walking through the house saying “IT!  Six figures!”  And I had no idea what IT stood for, but six figures sounded good to me, so I had to investigate! And when I looked at it I said “Oh, this is something that I can do!  And really enjoy!’” My father was an electrical engineer before he was a fighter pilot, and my son studied electrical engineering at UCLA when he had his accident, so I feel like: I can do this. I just needed to learn the skills.  

I wasn’t very interested in a remote school at first, that was the least appealing thing about Calbright, but I’m on a fixed income and I needed something that wasn’t going to cost me any money that would give me the skills I need to make money. I looked around at everything, I considered ALL my options in Los Angeles, and Calbright was the best option. And I love it! Not once have I said ”Oh, I should have gone there instead or done something else.” Not once.

The classes are hard, it’s such a challenge, but I love it. And the fact that I can do it on my own time has been very good for me. I have had to take time off for family issues and things that I hadn’t anticipated, so to be able to put it on hold and let people know that I’m still doing it, I’m still here, but if you don’t see productivity this week this is why — that is very helpful.  I have things happening all the time.

I didn’t even think that I could get disability accommodations due to my permanent disability, but my Calbright support team knew I could and helped guide me through the process, which is so helpful. They’re always there, always looking out for us. 

Ultimately I’d like to go into cybersecurity.  It sounds very interesting to me!  Helping people and keeping people safe are the backbone of who I am.  It is about helping people and keeping their information safe, so it doesn’t feel like a huge transition from law for me. Calbright is a great way to get there.

Leila (2)