Alumnus Leanna Swanson graduated in 2014 and went to Tarrant County College and Sam Houston State University. While in high school Swanson played in the band.
What have you done after high school?
“I had plans to go to Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale,” Swanson said. “However, I ended up finding out I was having a baby. So I stayed in Texas to pursue my bachelors degree. I went to TCC (so inexpensive) first, and now I’m attending Sam Houston State University to get my Bachelors of Science in Criminology with concentrations in Victim Studies. I also maintain two part time jobs. One at a hospital and another at a retail store.”
What made you want to do what you are doing now?
“Honestly, Jesus,” Swanson said. “I’m trying to live my life all in the glory of Him. Also I’ve just always had a passion to get into the Criminal Justice system. So I kind of just followed what my heart wanted me to do.”
What did you learn or experience in high school that affected you in college and beyond?
“Change is the only constant,” Swanson said. “Every day of high school was a new experience. New things to learn, new fights with your best friend, getting sick on finals day. And really the only thing you can latch on to is that change is inevitable.”
Explain your job now.
“I have two jobs that provide income,” Swanson said. “And one job that doesn’t (being a mom). One job is a simple retail job, at Bath and Body Works. The other job is more intricate and extensive because I work as a phlebotomist in a hospital. I deal with patients everyday; from 17 to 103. All have different backgrounds and stories. And I have to maintain my composure even with frustrating patients or things that make me sad. I had to learn a whole new set of skills required to do this job. And it wasn’t easy at first. My first day of training, I had to go cry in the bathroom because I couldn’t do something right and my trainer wasn’t very nice. But you move on and learn to do better. Let’s just say I have a lot of respect for nurses now.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I plan to move to California with my fiancé and my son,” Swanson said. “He’s a Marine, so I’ll follow him wherever they take him, even if it’s to Japan. I plan to become a police officer. And after that, the road is pretty open to whatever comes along.”
What is your advice to current high schoolers?
“Honestly, there are so many things I wish I could say because I never had anyone to share insight with me,” Swanson said. “Especially with all the things that go on in high school, family issues, drama, thinking you’re not pretty enough or smart enough, or that one person won’t pay attention to you, your grades sinking cause you barely get enough sleep. Of all those things, this is what I would say. Do not shrink yourself to fit anyone else’s mold of who they think you should be. This world is so full of cookie cutter people, who believe that there are certain expectations that need to be met in order to redeem your existence worthy of value. Well that’s wrong. Know your worth, then add tax. And even though other people are going to achieve things that you aren’t, be happy for them. Because your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live your best life. You are not in competition with anyone else. Plan to outdo your past, not other people. Also, I don’t remember what anybody wore in high school. I mean, no recollection whatsoever. So don’t stress if you’re not wearing $100 jeans and Becky in Biology class is. No one in college ever matches their clothes.”
If you have anything else you’d like to add, please do.
“This is for my teachers,” Swanson said. “I remember you. I may not remember everything you taught me or what you wore. But I remember you. And the values you instilled in me as a young adolescent. They have helped shape me into the woman I am today. I hope you never forget the impact you make on your students. You inspired me, motivated me, enlightened me, and above all, challenged me to be my best life. I’m so thankful for you and will be proud that my son will one day be taught by the same people you once called students.”