Student credits life experience for TCU success

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    Christina Castillo decided if she did not get her college degree now, she never would.

    “I have a lot of faith in God, and I think he let me be unafraid about going back to school,” Castillo said. “I realized there is nothing to be afraid of, so I just went for it.”

    An average school day for Castillo involves more than just a full day of classes. Castillo, a sophomore interior design major and a grandmother, helps work and cook for her daughter’s food truck, Tacoheads. Sometimes, Castillo does not get to sleep till two or three o’clock in the morning.

    One of Castillo’s daughters decided to open a food truck in the West 7th area of Fort Worth after being inspired by the food trucks she saw on her travels and while attending school at the University of Texas in Austin.

    But a lot of the inspiration for Tacoheads came from family recipes that have developed over the years and been passed down through generations.

    Raising four children and taking care of them at home was something Castillo said she wanted to do. Getting a college degree was also something she wished to pursue, but life happened, she said.

    Castillo said that was one reason why she was so adamant about making sure her children received a college education.

    She decided to take some courses at Tarrant County College, where she talked to a counselor about the possibility of attending TCU.

    In January, she applied to TCU.

    “I felt that everything was falling into place so smoothly, and it was meant to be,” Castillo said. “It was a huge blessing.”

    Helping her daughter, Sarah, with her restaurant while attending school has been hard, Castillo said. In the food truck business, owners can’t just lock the door and call it a night — it requires taking the food truck home, unloading it and prepping for the next day.

    But Castillo has cut her hours at work, especially during portfolio review week when the students had to submit their work in order to pass and go on in the interior design major.

    Castillo said that week was difficult because there were a lot of things to do in a short amount of time.

    “There were a lot of prayers and a lot of sleepless nights,” Castillo said. “We were all just so happy that we made it.”

    One thing she was working on was becoming more tech-savvy. Because she has not been in school in 30 years, she said, she has more catching up to do with technology.

    Although she is not as familiar with technology as today’s generation, she believes that raising four children, taking care of a family and life’s difficulties has provided her with a different outlook on life — one that gives her an advantage.

    Her experience helped her realize that getting frantic over an upcoming test is not necessary, she said.

    Castillo said times were different when she was young. She had a family at a young age, and, during that time, mothers took care of the children, and fathers went to work.

    Today, Castillo said she believed there were more options for women.

    Along with pursuing a degree and helping with the family business, Castillo has a small sewing and custom draperies business, Castillo & Co.

    Castillo said she wanted to work in a design studio after she completed her degree. She then hopes to go off and work on her own.