Student Voice

Art student finds confidence and opportunity at Moorpark College

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Lexi Sanchez, 19-year-old art major, overcame her insecurities and found a creative avenue in Moorpark College's art program. Sanchez exemplifies students that come to community college to find themselves and their passions. Photo credit: Courtesy of Lexi Sanchez

Lexi Sanchez, 19-year-old art major, overcame her insecurities and found a creative avenue in Moorpark College's art program. Sanchez exemplifies students that come to community college to find themselves and their passions. Photo credit: Courtesy of Lexi Sanchez

Lexi Sanchez, 19-year-old art major, overcame her insecurities and found a creative avenue in Moorpark College's art program. Sanchez exemplifies students that come to community college to find themselves and their passions. Photo credit: Courtesy of Lexi Sanchez

By Macey Klipp

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After overcoming financial setbacks and anxieties, a 19-year-old art major decided to pursue her creative passions at Moorpark College.

Alexis Sanchez wanted to pursue a career she would love but she wasn’t too certain on how to achieve that goal. It took a period of extensive personal growth for her to find her way to the person she is now.

“The best [part] is probably how much I’ve opened up these past couple years,” Sanchez said. “I’ve discovered new passions and have had a lot of fun trying new interests.”

Sanchez would like to transfer to an art school in California after finishing her required credits for an Associate’s degree. Just as many students may have felt, Sanchez had reservations about community college and was uncertain of her future coming out of high school. Yet when she finally came around to attending Moorpark College, she found many opportunities to grow her artistic ability as well as boost her confidence. She found access to an affordable, quality education with the convenience of living at home with her family.

At eight years old, Sanchez realized her artistic talent, but was unsure of how she could achieve success from her hobby when she grew older. At 17, she took several classes at her high school and excelled in her ability to create unique pieces. During her senior year at Royal High School, Sanchez made the decision to attend Moorpark College after growing concerned about paying tuition at other colleges.

When acceptance letters were being sent out to her friends, Sanchez felt devastated about not being able to announce that she would be attending a four-year university in the fall. Sanchez spent a majority of her final months of high school in a deep depression that stemmed from her uncertainty about her future and the setbacks caused by her financial situation.

“The worst would probably be when I had really bad depression,” Sanchez said. “ It got in the way of a lot of things.”

Sanchez stopped socializing at school, hanging out with her friends, and fell behind in a few of her classes. She felt lost and distracted by the overwhelming choices she was being forced to make. Choices like what she would do after graduation, where would she live, and how was she going to continue her education. She even lost her creative spark and went on a temporary hiatus from her art during this time.

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A woman with glasses plays the violin in the pen on paper piece by Lexi Sanchez. Her hair bunches upward and takes the form of a violin. Photo credit: Courtesy of Lexi Sanchez

Friends and family of Sanchez became concerned for her and suggested a community college, which she ruled out due to it being too close to her home in Simi Valley. Eventually, Sanchez came around to attending Moorpark College in the fall of 2016, but was faced with the same financial problems. She was able to obtain a job at the Newbury Park Kohl’s, where her brother had previously worked. She uses the wages she earns for classes, books, and other essentials.

Although her current job is not closely related to the art field, working and engaging with different types of people has given her communication skills. It has also encouraged her to come out of her shell and be more outgoing. Sanchez can get anxious when meeting new people, but she is confident that working in retail is helping her conquer her shyness.

At Sanchez’ job, she helps customers at the cash registers, in the fitting rooms, as well as running the returns from customer service. She also enjoys her time with fellow coworkers and engages in lively conversations. Thomas Foster, assistant manager at Kohl’s, hired Sanchez over a year ago and commends her on her accomplishments made during her employment.

“Lexi is certainly an asset to our staff,” Foster said. “I’ve seen her grow and mature through the customer interaction and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her on a personal level as well.”

When she returned to the sales floor, she met up with a coworker, Omar Lopez. As he helped her sort out a messy fitting room, they shared a conversation about their plans for the upcoming weekend and talked about bands they both like.

“Her chosen actions, words, and creations are quality,” Lopez said. “She is shy and timid yet chooses to overcome anxieties in exchange for her personal growth and maturation.”

Sanchez considers Lopez to be one of her very good friends. They bonded over similar interests in anime, humor, and other types of entertainment. Lopez was a large part of Sanchez’ decision to attend Moorpark, as he attended Ventura Community College and advised her on the benefits of the school. Lopez transferred to California Lutheran University on a full music scholarship and graduated during spring 2016.

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Two hands hold an assortment of flowers in this pen on paper piece by Lexi Sanchez. Photo credit: Courtesy of Lexi Sanchez

Sanchez has not let her financial position stop her from achieving her dream. She instead chooses to view it as an opportunity to branch out and experience all of the new opportunities that college has given her. A few months into the spring semester, Sanchez began to feel overjoyed about choosing Moorpark College. There she could continue her studies and practice art, all while still living at home. Sanchez used to be filled with anxiety about potentially having to move out and be on her own if she were to attend a four-year university directly out of high school.

“As vague as it sounds, I wish I knew more about life in general,” Sanchez, said. “You’re kind of thrown into adulthood not knowing how to handle it and I guess I could say I wish I did know how.”

Sanchez’ art style is intricate, detailed, and hard to categorize into one specific way. Sanchez has experimented with graffiti, pop-art, contemporary, cartoon, anime, splatter and more. She explains that she does not have a specific art style that defines her. Most artists are famous for particular techniques or pieces. Sanchez hopes to find her art style in the future, but enjoys exploring new mediums as she progresses through her life.

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