As a self-described “rebellious” teen, Noah Pacifico had little appreciation for the value of an education and ended up dropping out of high school. Then in his 40s after earning his GED, he decided he wanted a change and knew he needed to obtain a college degree.
When he first enrolled at County College of Morris (CCM), he was living in Madison but then later moved to Monroe to help his mother. Despite having to travel an hour and a half each way, he decided to continue his education at CCM.
“I knew this was where I wanted to finish my degree. I feel really comfortable here and the professors and students are all willing to help,” he says.
And while he did not do well in high school, with the help and guidance he received at CCM he quickly came to see that he could succeed as a student.
“I was amazed. I had to take all these prerequisites, which was my first foot in the water, but I had a lot of help from my professors,” he notes. “After a few months, I started to build my ability to organize myself and do well as a student and pull off some decent grades.”
His goal is to earn his bachelor’s degree and become a teacher. Prior to enrolling at CCM, he had worked in sales, as a regional manager for a health club chain and then traveled abroad for about 10 years. But what haunted him was the desire to contribute and to do work that was meaningful to him.
“Can you imagine the rebellious high school student who couldn’t listen in class now wants to be a teacher?”
Along with contributing to society, he notes he also is proud that he chose to follow his dream.
“There is only one life you have to live and if you’re not living your passion, you’re wasting time,” says Pacifico. “What holds a lot of people back is fear. I did have to make some sacrifices to take this route but I have learned there is great value in pursuing who you are meant to be.”