Shahnoor Dar

Central Carolina Technical College

"Now I’ve found a career with a great pay rate that I never even knew existed before coming here."

My name is Shahnoor Dar. I started at Central Carolina after hearing about it from my sister and receiving some scholarships that will help pay for my education. My family is from Pakistan. My mom is a single mom trying to raise two children, and it’s hard to pay for schooling. She doesn’t really know much about college stuff since she didn’t go to college; it’s just me and my sister trying to figure out how everything works. 

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I figured this would be a good way to start exploring what I’m into. In my family, there has always been pressure to be a doctor or lawyer or go into some other crazy field. I started in accounting, but that wasn’t for me. I’m more artsy, but you can’t really find jobs in art that pay well. 

Starting at Central was a chance to lay out different career choices and look into each one to see what I liked best. I knew some of the students who took Engineering and Design Technology for their field, so I thought I’d take one class as an elective. I fell in love with it the first week and knew that was what I wanted to do. 


What did you know about technical college before attending? 

Most of my friends are going straight into a four-year college, so technical college is not as well known. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career. Everyone expects you to know the second you have graduated high school, but I had no idea. Everyone seems to have already set in stone where they will go after high school, but I did not. 

Many people go straight into a four-year and spend thousands of dollars in classes that may not even apply to what they end up doing as a career. A few of my friends were also going to Central, so it was easier for me to find out more information through them. Everything I heard about Central from people who had been here was really nice and positive.


Why was technical college right for you? 

Technical college helped me find out what I wanted to do as a career. I feel like a lot of students coming out of high school don’t know that yet. It’s a way to slowly transition into deciding what career path you want to take, and that has helped me a lot. It’s too much pressure for young people to be making those decisions the moment they graduate high school. Many of my friends who went to four-year colleges have quit or are stressed out and forced to pursue a career path they don’t want to do anymore. 


What obstacles did you overcome on your journey? 

I had to learn to open up more. I was very shy coming out of high school. When I got to Central, I had to get to know my instructors. They will give you all the information that you need and go above and beyond the expected. Between the professors and students, it’s a very close-knit community. 

I also had to learn how to balance work and school. I want to be a full-time student because I feel like that should come first, but between work and school, I don’t get a day off during the week. I’ve had to create a schedule so I don’t overwhelm myself. 


What did you learn by changing your major? 

It is a big relief knowing that I’ve found something I’m actually passionate about. When I was doing accounting, I was like, “I can’t do this my entire life.” Now I’ve found a career with a great pay rate that I never even knew existed before coming here. 


What advice do you have for other people on their journey? 

Don’t stress. There are so many different things that you probably don’t even know about yet. Take your time. Do the research and explore what you’re interested in. Don’t be scared to go into a two-year college, because it can change your life.