Grad Spotlight - Martin Trejo
June 28, 2020 - 09:00 AM
Martin Trejo has always found himself moving from place to place, especially as it relates to his education.
During his youth, he attended three elementary schools, one middle school and three high schools. When Martin finally graduated from Sierra Vista High School in Baldwin Park in 2008, he tried his luck at college at the now-closed Westwood College.
“At the time, I thought it was amazing studying Administration of Justice with an aspiration to become a police officer,” he says. “After a year there, I realized that school just wasn’t my thing.”
He dropped out and enlisted in the United States Army Reserves. Martin went to Basic Training for six months and returned home, thinking he had found his calling with the Armed Forces. But he still felt lost and tried college again, this time at Rio Hondo College “in hopes of finding a spark of interest in something,” he says.
But after two semesters, Martin stopped attending. Shortly thereafter, he was notified he was being deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His first tour of duty lasted about a year, and Martin volunteered for more time in Afghanistan.
“I was never the same after what I experienced and felt more lost than ever,” he says.
During the month of June, Mt. SAC social media channels (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) will feature a Mountie Grad spotlight each day, sharing the stories of our students’ journey through Mt. SAC and where their education is taking them next. Read how a star Mountie baseball player, Kenny Garcia used all the resources available to him at the WIN Program, the Academic Support and Achievement Center, and the Library, to continue his baseball career at Cal State San Marcos. As a 16 year-old entering Mt. SAC, Stephanie Widjaja knew she had to work harder than she ever had before and it paid off, with a perfect 4.0 GPA, a Student of Distinction honor, and entry in UCLA for the now-18 year-old. Learn how Stephanie Robles used her time as a Mountie soccer player to earn a 3.9 GPA and both an academic and athletic scholarship to Texas Southern University.
Martin was again back at home, feeling bored at a dead-end job and yearning for the comfort of the military. So, once again, the sergeant in the Military Police asked to be deployed overseas.
“During my time away, I didn’t really check in as much with family as I didn’t feel like I belonged,” Martin says. “I was in a relationship throughout all this, and, during my third deployment, she went out and (was unfaithful). I wouldn’t find out until a few months after I returned.”
While breakups are always hard, Martin felt it was a wakeup call to turn around his life, which included giving college another shot.
“I heard from friends that the Veterans Resource Center at Mt. SAC was really amazing at helping their veterans tackle the hardships and integration into the college life and come out successful,” he says. “So I enrolled in the Fall of 2016.”
Martin found it bumpy that first semester back, failing a math class and withdrawing from a Psychology course.
“I jumped into an ocean without having learned how to swim,” he says. “I needed to restructure my way of learning and approach things in a new way.”
Martin began to find his footing during the Winter and Spring terms, but toward the end of that Spring, he got word that he was being deployed again: this time to Saudi Arabia.
As he settled into another new country, he learned he “was able to take online classes at Mt. SAC,” he says. “I jumped on that wagon and continued my education that way.”
Unfortunately, Martin’s groove online was short-lived. He was involved in a serious car accident in Saudi Arabia and was unable to do his job as a soldier or as a student.
“I was sent to Ft. Lewis in Washington to get treatment for traumatic brain injury, speech therapy, memory loss, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.” Martin says. “I remained there for quite some time, and, after therapy, I regained the confidence to reenroll in online classes.”
Martin was able to overcome all his injuries, unease and uncertainty to earn an AA-T degree in Sociology. The veteran will now transfer to Cal Poly Pomona to continue his journey.
“It is my hope to help those that are in need,” he says. “I am headed toward the social worker route. I am excited to see what challenges I will face. I am eager to learn and face it all head on.” #MtSACgrads2020