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Alumni Spotlight: Melinda M.
Melinda M.

Making Waves - Alumni Spotlight and Testimonials

Alumni Spotlight

I'm a mom of four kids ages 17, 10, 5 and 2 and a wife who decided to go back to school while raising my kids. Rio was the only paralegal program that was fully online with a only a few in-person tests, which wasn't an issue since the Rio Salado College Avondale location is close to my home. I will admit that me going to school was a group effort.

My husband would take the kids to the park to play so I could take a timed mid-term exam or quiz. There were a lot of papers written at midnight while the kids and my husband were sound asleep. Many nights I stayed up late doing homework knowing that my day and life would start over in just a few hours when the house came alive again.

I made it through my paralegal classes and my prerequisites with a 3.8 GPA upon graduation. I was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and felt honored to be a part of that.

I walked in the Rio Salado College Commencement Ceremony in May 2018, but technically took my last final exam in July 2018. I saved math until the end because I dreaded it. I'll never forget going to Rio Avondale to take that final. I had studied, studied and studied some more. I took the pre-test over and over again.

After 1.5 hours and 30 questions, I clicked “submit” and knew school was officially over. I scored a 93% and ended that math class with an A!

At that point, I could not wait to file for my diploma. It was an associate degree, but to me, it was a lot more than that.

I applied at U-Haul International for a paralegal position that was mostly (I found out later) product liability defense, and I was selected for a phone interview. Then I was chosen for an in-person interview.

The next day my phone rang at 9:40 a.m. and it was my recruiter letting me know that U-Haul wanted to offer me a job! I started in the legal department at U-Haul on Oct. 1, 2018.

I look back and think about all the hard days and nights studying and testing and being tired and frustrated. Now I realize it was all worth it. My future goals include possibly going to ASU and finishing my undergraduate degree in justice studies, becoming a certified legal document preparer and opening my own business. A master’s degree in legal studies may also be in the works at some point down the road.