Victor Alcantar

Victor Alcantar

Entering college as an adult can be a challenge, even for a military veteran.

However, after facing far greater trials as a medic in Iraq and Afghanistan, Victor Alcantar found a strong team at Pueblo Community College Southwest ready to guide him through his new academic journey. Alcantar graduated from Mancos High School in 2004 and joined the Army in 2007. In 2015, he decided to leave the military and pursue his goal of getting a college education. 

“I started looking at school and what had me concerned was the size of classes most schools had,” he said. “I had never attended college and wanted to attend a school with smaller class sizes, so my family and I decided to move back to Colorado where I would enroll in PCC.”

Alcantar graduated from the Practical Nursing program at PCC’s Southwest campus in Mancos in 2019 and became an LPN. He followed that up by becoming a registered nurse (RN) in 2020, also through PCC Southwest. 

“Having a smaller group – I think my class had 27 students – allowed us to have more hands-on experiences in clinicals and in labs. This gave me the confidence to do my job as a new graduate,” he said.

After completing those two programs, Alcantar decided he wasn’t finished with his education. To keep up with changes in the workforce, he decided to complete his bachelor’s degree in nursing through PCC’s online program. It allowed him to continue working while taking classes. He graduated this year with his bachelor’s degree and now works in a critical care unit at a health care facility in Texas.

“My supervisors saw how quick I would catch on to things and they have now made me a charge nurse in my unit,” he said. “I don't think I would have that confidence if it wasn't for my teachers and the opportunities they gave us.”

Alcantar said other PCC resources, including financial aid and student support services, helped him become comfortable with academic life. He also joined a study group so he could learn from his fellow students about how they prepare for classes. 

“Being a student again was not easy,” he said, “but with the help of the teachers and my classmates, I learned how to be successful.”