Renegade Struggle: Julie Gutierrez


Fitzgerald Graves

Julie Gutierrez

Fitzgerald Graves, Reporter

Julie Gutierrez, a Bakersfield College student who is a Rad Tech major, shared her story about the multiple struggles she faced in her life that led to academic journey at Bakersfield College.
She is an only child, born to an El Salvadorian mother who came to America as un-documented and non-English speaking immigrant, who has since become a citizen. Gutierrez’s mother worked continuously to support her and other family members, which left little time for her to advance her own education. And working 20 hours a day left minimal time for sleep and even less time for Gutierrez and her mother. She was raised mainly by her aunt, who inherited the responsibility of taking care for her grandparents. Her grandparents faced their own challenges due to health and they all required the support of Gutierrez’s mom, and multiple jobs in order to survive. This created a void in their relationship, that left her vulnerable to abuse. This trauma left her feeling extremely hopeless and at the age of 13 she made an attempt to end her life. Her aunt was able to prevent her from completing the act. This action also created a space for her to disclose to her family what had occurred that led her to want to end it all. Once Gutierrez’s mother was aware what had taken place she took swift action in protecting her daughter and removed her from a dangerous situation.
Gutierrez received years of counseling at her Berendo Middle School and Bel Mont High school. She said. “It helped with what it could help with, but this type of trauma to a young girl or a young boy stays with you forever.”

This mother daughter duo was almost inseparable, until Gutierrez fell in love and got married April 2004. The union turned out to be less than what she had expected. Her husband was very abusive and due to previous traumas in her life she stayed in the situation feeling that in some way it was caused by her.
There were two incidents of abuse that occurred prior to the last incident in which she was forced to take action to defend herself. She made a decision that no amount of effort is going to save this marriage. After divorcing her husband, she and her mother once again were reunited as roommates and the educational opportunity given was heart-warming. Living with her mom took some readjusting and there were some residual issues that existed due to past traumas, yet they knew that their love and commitment to one another would carry them through on this life and Gutierrez’s educational journey.

She went back to school in 2010 majoring in rad tech at Bakersfield College.

Working for customer service for a large cable service provider was a means to provide a living, however from Gutierrez’s perspective there was minimal chance for advancement without education. Not interested in the field she chose a discipline she had passion for, RadTech.

After starting her classes at BC she knew that her employer would not accommodate a full course load, so one class at a time was the initial plan of action. Acquiring the needed courses to qualify for the RadTech-Program a Bakersfield College in an effective manner she would need to take more units. It was then presented by her mother that she would provide the resources so she could quit working and focus on school full-time.

She was once again in control of her academic progress and has not slowed down. Taking courses such as physics, calculus, and chemistry where she excelled. And recently Gutierrez received a letter of acceptance to the Bakersfield College RadTech-Program, which she will begin in June.

Gutierrez currently carries a 3.72 GPA at Bakersfield College and anticipates finishing the RadTech-Program in two years and will complete the certification as well as, other needed requirements at CSUB Ridgecrest for an additional year. She is currently a student worker with a position as a public safety cadet as she awaits the next phase of her education.