Claudette Marco: Long Road to the Present

Growing up in West Covina, CA as an only child, all I had in my life was school, a few close friends, and my imagination. I would go into my parents’ backyard, watch nature, and imagine being in different worlds. From such imaginings I crafted many poems which I enjoyed writing very much. But then I left it behind to prepare myself for a career in law.

School, school, school

Throughout elementary school I struggled with shyness. Many times I knew the answers when the teacher would ask questions in class but refused to raise my hand just in case my answer was still wrong (shyness plays with your mind and self-confidence, as many of you know). Having my share of bullies, I did not want to give them any more cause to ridicule me.

I went to Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, CA. There, I still struggled with shyness in class because at this point in my life, it was not bullies’ comments i feared, it was the fact that I felt the most pressure to succeed. Highschoolers are supposed to be preparing for college and college leads to a job and a job leads to financial stability… (AAAHHH!!) Needless to say I pushed myself to answer in class (not all the time, but just enough to get a good participation grade!) I applied to 2 colleges and got accepted into both.

I matriculated into Whittier College in Whittier, CA in 1998. I loved my experience there. I met many different people from many different countries with interesting backgrounds and opinions. I especially loved all the classes there (well, not all of them, like accounting, Bleh!) I majored in Political Science with minors in Economics and Spanish. I majored in political science because that is what most students major in if they are going to law school. I also loved the subject matter. (From what many, many, many people have told me, you HAVE to love it in order to major in it.) I then started the process of applying to law schools. From the 5 I applied to I got accepted into one. First warning sign.

The learning really starts

I obtained my  Bachelor’s degree in 2002. I then went to law school as a full-time student but was failed out.

For those of you who do not know how law school’s grading system is, let me roughly explain it here. The grade you receive on your final exam is graded on a curve. This means that the grade you receive on your exam is really not the grade you deserve on your own merits but the grade you receive against the best person in the class. So only one person receives an ‘A’, maybe 5 people a ‘B’, and the rest of us have to fight for that ‘C’. On a graph it would look like a bell curve. The law school I went to had a passing average of 77% at the time (that number may be inaccurate.) My grades did not match that. Second warning sign. I petitioned the school, got in again, and then failed out again the next year. Third warning sign.

I had styled my entire life to become a lawyer and now, all of that was gone. The goal towards my life’s fulfillment was fogged.

I felt I had no control over my destiny. What I liked doing best in my life was the college experience of taking research and using that research to create a product in the form of an essay but thought that I could never be paid to be a student (unless I was to become a teacher, which I didn’t want to do). Hence, I did not know where to go next.

Picking up the pieces

It took me 6 months to realize that I could do anything I wanted now. During that time my dad offered me a job to do paperwork for him. So, in the meantime I was able to research different careers and, also got another job working as a cashier for Kmart to develop work experience. Then, I thought about doing something totally different from law: work with animals. So, I went through Animal Behavior College ( become a dog obedience trainer. I worked as an office assistant for a dog training company until I graduated from ABC and received my certificate as a certified dog obedience trainer. I then worked for PetCo as a dog trainer and opened my own business in 2006 and still have it to this day. Yet I still do paperwork for my dad for my dog training industry took a hit with the recession in 2007-2008. Nevertheless, I had fun with dog training because I like talking to people. So, needing a new career, on the suggestion of my boyfriend, I decided to go back to school and become a high school Spanish teacher. (I know, I said earlier I did not want to do that. Fourth warning sign.) After almost a year in that program, I saw how it was on the other side of the desk. God Bless teachers for what they do every single day! As for me, I am not a disciplinarian by nature. So I quit.

“The way forward is sometimes the way back.” —Labyrinth

Even as I went through the teaching program, I researched if I could get another bachelor’s degree, possibly in theology because I love the study of religions. A turning point was when the advisor in the theology department told me, “You’re in the teaching credential program but you are looking for more.” I woke up. I did not understand all of these warning signs in my life until then.

I needed to find a career that fit my personality and my interests.

I thought to myself, almost desperately, what can I do? In the mornings, I would walk my dogs and listen to audiobooks like the Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie. Every time I took the walk I would pass a phrase spray painted on the sidewalk: “An idea will come.” And then the idea came: I can write a book too! It gave me the opportunity to research, like in college, and use my imagination, like when I wrote poems as a child, the two things that I enjoyed doing the most in my life. The next 2 years saw me typing every night, every weekend, and every moment in between to see  my young adult epic fantasy trilogy come to life. The fog around my goal cleared.

Finally, after so many, sometimes devastating, career failures in my life, finding writing in my life has absolutely changed my direction already. It incorporates my love of studying and research, just like what I did in college, with my love for imagining myself in a different world. I even use the love I had for poetry when I was a child and include some short poems here and there.

I have toured my Fantasy Series to various writing and Sci-fi/Fantasy conventions across the country. I moved to Kingman, AZ and I have great friends here. Rachel, Summer, and I (Besties listed in alphabetical order) go out for frozen yogurt every week! I get to see the beautiful Arizona desert landscape every day, and I also visit my parents in Southern California once or twice a month. I have been exploring my interest in learning astrophysics and quantum mechanics as I work on my next book series: a Sci-Fi Adventure Series.  So, be prepared, because you just never know!

“Honor of labor’s completion shall bear fruit.” —Claudette Marco

One Response

  1. Virginia says:

    The way I see life is, failures are not failures, they are learning experiences, and those experiences make you stronger until one day you see that those experiences take you to a better road to success!