Interview with Kristina Flores, 05/02/2017 (Transcript Only)

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´╗┐Andrea Villarreal: Where I you grow up?

Kristina Flores: I grew up in Kaukauna, Wisconsin,

AV: Okay, tell me a little bit about the community you grew up in. What types of world did the people in your neighborhood do? Did you ever know people within your community to regularly go to college?

KF: I would say that the city that I grew up in was skewed blue collar because we had a very large paper mill there. And I guess I don't know the exacts as far as how many people who sought further education. However, I would guess that it was likely skewed towards no education after high school. A lot of people went directly to the paper mill. However probably skewing more towards furthering their education as I got out of high school and went into college and those younger than me probably seeking further education now. But I don't know that for fact.

AV: Do you feel that where you grew up and within your family that it was a normal ambition to seek further education?

KF: Absolutely. My parents did not seek further education because my oldest brother was a surprise. However, my oldest brother did go to a four year university. My middle brother did not, but then I always knew that I wanted to. There was no question.

AV: How would you describe your family? What was it like growing up in your household?

KF: Well, I have two older brothers. My oldest one is nine years older than me and my middle one is four years older than me. So none of us were ever in high school together and by the time I was in high school I was pretty much an only child because my older brothers had moved out of the house. My parents were married has since been divorced. They divorced after I went off to college. But it was a pretty normal family life. You know kind of a classic family with the three kids and a dog. I guess you could say.

AV: when you were a younger person what were your aspirations? Did you see your life turning out in a particular way?

KF: Yes, when I was younger I actually wanted to be a writer. I have always felt that was a strength of mine and have always loved doing that. And I actually had a little company when I was younger called Krissy's card service. Where I made homemade cards and different things inside of them, they were like greeting cards. I had a sign on my bedroom door and everything. Well then I thought I was going to be an English teacher because I had always loved words, and while I did not go down that exact path I still feel like I ended up in the right area because I work in marketing and communications and communication and writing is still a huge part of what I do. But I would say that I still have aspirations to write that book of mine. I just have to work up the guts to get it, I'm still young I still have time.

AV: Do you feel that a lot of the aspirations you had as a younger person pushed you to pursue certain interests throughout schooling? Not even just college but beforehand as well.

KF: Yes, I mean I've always known that my strengths fell on the side of words, writing, verbal communication, and written communication. I always knew I was not great at the math and science side of things, so being that it wasn't my strength I never wanted to go down that path. So everything I did the majors that I chose in college were the ones that felt like they fell within my strengths. I've been self-aware since I was young I guess you could say.

AV: When you were searching for schools to attend, was UWO your first choice? Did you have many schools that you considered going to? Why?

KF: I think based on the scores that I received on testing and what my grades were looking like in high school I was looking for this sort of level of college. Like Oshkosh, Stevens point, La Crosse. I didn't want to go too far. I wasn't a huge fan of driving due to a really bad car accident that I got into in high school. So, Oshkosh definitely fell high for me maybe because it wasn't too far. I didn't have to do too much driving.

AV: When you were looking for these schools, as you said you were interested in writing, was that something that you figured you would intend to study or did you think you would just go in with an open book?

KF: I definitely didn't go in with an open book. I intended to be an English teacher that was what my original major was. I changed it shortly after and decided to go down the business path and I chose marketing and management as my majors, and I really chose those in all honesty I looked at the business majors that had the least math and what involved the most amount of people and creativity because I definitely fall more on the extroverted side than the introverted side. I work in a financial institution which is kind of funny now saying that, so I'm surrounded by a bunch of financial minded people, a lot of accountants. And I don't always fit in with that group as far as my personality, I'm not so good at crunching the numbers I definitely have to uses my more creative side, be out in front of people and communicating.

AV: Did you ever while growing up communicate your goals with your parents, and talked to them about what you aspired to be or do? And if you did what were their thoughts?

KF: I definitely always communicated with my mom, I was always close with my mom that I always wanted to be a writer. She still has my writing samples from when I was young and I always felt like she encouraged me. I never felt discouraged by her, or either of my parents really. They never said that I couldn't go to school, they never told me that I couldn't pursue a certain major. It was like whatever I wanted to do I could accomplish. Of course it wasn't like I said I wanted to be in a band and pursue rock and roll the rest of my life. Which might have not been my strength and they would have said that might not be something your very good at. I don't know if they would have discouraged me if it didn't fall within my strengths. But I never felt discouraged.

AV: When you did ultimately choose to attend UWO, what were first impressions of the school?

KF: I remember thinking that it seemed really big. But I think everything is relative. I was eighteen years old and hadn't been a lot of places yet and then I remember visiting a friend in Madison and thinking oh my gosh this campus is not large at all. And now we have a branch that is very close to the university and it seems so small to me. So it's just relative it is at the time I remember thinking it was huge, I remember getting lost one of my very first days. It just seemed very big, and that I was very on my own.

AV: Do you remember your first day at the school or any of your firsts at this university?

KF: I do remember my first day actually. My first day revolved around the parties that I attended, but I'm not sure if that's appropriate for your homework assignment. But remember that I had ran into a fellow Kaukauna high school grad right before I had attended the university. And he was a few years ahead of me, and I told him what my room number was never thinking that he'd remember and him and his friends came to visit me my first day and were like we know where the parties are at come with us. And a couple of the other girls on the floor were like yea, we're up for a good time. And the rest is probably not appropriate. But I do remember very distinctly, that first day and night.

AV: Wow. How do you think your first semester felt as a whole?

KF: I would say I had a lot of fun. I would say I focused far more on creating friendships and having fun than I did studies. Not that I did poorly but I think I mentioned earlier that I am relatively social person so I definitely was loving you know being on my own, being in a dorm and constantly having people around. I loved the energy felt with other people around me and being able to walk out of my room into my friend's right next door. So I would say I focused a lot more on the social aspects and the relationships that I created. But definitely did my study time and did what I needed to do. But I also was always that person that person that they had to tell to shut up in the library and stop talking during the study session. I still got done what I needed to get done, but my focus was friends I was making and what was going on socially. Not that I'm giving you any advice right now.

AV: No of course not, but this is based on your experience so it's all important. What were you classes like?

KF: It's funny because you just asked me a second ago if I remember my first day and I do distinctly remember it, but I don't remember a lot of my classes. I remember the one class I did not like I had I think it was a philosophy class, and it was so not my thing and I remember not attending it a lot. Which is also not a good thing again. But I don't honestly remember a ton about what my first semester classes were like. I remember a lot big classes versus the smaller classes, I think those came later.

AV: When you first came to the university did you have a major picked out? Or did you do what most people do and took your gen eds and waiting to pick a field?

KF: I had a major picked out, I was going to be a teacher so education was going to be my major and I was going to go down the path of English. That did not last very long. But that was my original plan.

AV: what do you feel was the reason that you switched from English and becoming a teacher to business?

KF: I don't know maybe the repetitiveness. I don't know, I think it's funny because my husbands a teacher now. I don't know if I would have had the patience to work, I don't exactly what caused me to change my mind. I guess it was fate because I am definitely glad I went down the path that I did go down. But just not feeling that necessarily going to fall within my strengths. I think somebody also once told me as well that you're not going to make as much money as a teacher. While there were better opportunities in terms of income as a business major. So that weighed heavily on the decision factor.

AV: That kind of leads into my next question. What kind of advice would you give to current students?

KF: Seek out a potential professor that you connect to that could be a mentor to you and could open up doors as far as networking, connections, for attain internships in different areas in order to understand what you like and what you don't like. I was a double major in HR and marketing and quickly found that HR was not the path for me. So getting some of that under your belt to help you get more involved. And get more involved to really make your resume stand out from the others, I think it's incredibly critical.

AV: Do you remember any social, political, or otherwise important things happening around the time you attended

KF: I remember hearing stories about how crazy things would get around St. Patrick's Day and they would send us off onto spring break during that time, and riots and things like that. I do remember Wisconsin won some game and things went crazy, but nothing really stands out to me right now. My husband would know he's a huge sports fanatic. UW Madison won some game, basketball maybe. And things got pretty crazy. But other than that it was pretty quiet from a cultural and political standpoint as far as I remember. Although I could have been oblivious.

AV: In which ways did you socialize around campus?

KF: Going to the bars was a big part of the culture. And it felt comfortable because whenever you walked into a bar, you know most of the people there, and you felt like you were a part of something as opposed to going home and not knowing everybody. You felt familiar with those around you and that helped a lot.

AV: Do you feel that because I know that you said that your parents did not pursue higher education, would you recommend generations in the future at least take a look into going into higher education?

KF: Absolutely. Again, if you want to educate yourself you should pursue further education to do so. If you are going down the apprenticeship path to better yourself and further your education on that. It's a four year, or a two year. I think it opens up doors and it's absolutely a great choice. It might not be the right choice for everybody, but it can't hurt to try if you think it might help you in your future