Maryam’s whole life was uprooted in 2021. A native of Pakistan, Maryam married her husband for love and lived in his home country of Afghanistan before settling in California. Maryam’s husband served as an interpreter and safety officer for the United States, giving the pair an opportunity to come to America when the United States withdrew from Afghanistan.

They were glad to be here. She felt welcomed and supported, but also needed to start over and find a new career. 

“I have degrees from Pakistan in public administration and English literature,” Maryam said. “But I was having trouble finding something I could do here in America. It was a struggle.”

Maryam enrolled in Calbright’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) administration program, choosing  to study at the College because it’s free and it’s supportive. “I applied and the process was easy,” she said. “They said that they could loan you a Chromebook and wireless hotspot if you need them for your studies, and I got them right away.”

She had thought that the courses would be more abstract, focusing on “theory of management,” and instead was startled to realize how practical they are. “They’re really teaching you what to do and how to do it with the software,” she said. “I was surprised.”

She found the curriculum very challenging, but it was a challenge that inspired her. “I thought sometimes that it would be too difficult, but I kept coming back,” she said. “I found it very engaging, something that was difficult, yes, but it was also something that I wanted to do.”

She also found the community at Calbright to be incredibly helpful and supportive.

“Everyone was available,” she said. “And the community of students and instructors on Slack was wonderful. When I had a question, I could ask. I could join study sessions, I could get assistance and support. I felt very connected, and it helped a great deal.”

She’s now taking practice tests, getting ready to apply for her Salesforce certification.  

“It has been a very exciting process,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the next steps.”