Paola Guadalupe Santana

Paola Manzano

Paola Manzano

By Karla Ortiz

The library’s commitments are not only to the outside community but also to all those who serve day-to-day in its departments. Administration is a somewhat hidden area of the library, but thanks to this department, the library keeps meeting its goals and continuing with its main objective—bringing education to the community.

Paola Santana is an administrative assistant who, through fate, fell into the arms of the library. At the age of 20, she already knows well how to face obstacles. In her childhood, she was very fond of sports. From elementary school on, she participated in basketball tournaments, where she even competed to represent the city in state elementary school competitions. Toward the end of high school, however, she began abandoning such activities.

She remained a good student. As a child, she worked hard to avoid disappointing her parents, but nowadays her reason is herself—plus an even greater reason: three years ago, gave birth to a little girl who she feels has illuminated her way. Despite people making a fuss about her pregnancy at a young age, Paola learned to ignore comments and fend for herself.

When she became pregnant, she had the option to drop out of school to raise her daughter, but she was very clear about what she wanted for her future and how she saw her daughter fitting in it. She decided to go on as if nothing had happened and finish high school, get a job, and go to college. She took on all this in a hurry.

A year after graduating from college, Paola has faced the challenge of missing out on great moments with her daughter, but these are sacrifices she is confident will be rewarded in the future. She attends classes just on Saturdays, but all day long. She has six classes, all of which leave her with homework, exhibitions, and big projects to do during the week. They take up valuable time she could be spending with her daughter. It has not been easy for her, but she has the support of her husband, her daughter, her parents, and her in-laws. Paola appreciates all the support the extended family has given them as a young couple.

One of Paola’s biggest challenges, in addition to continuing her studies and being a mother, has been to go out and look for work. She is a little shy when she meets new people. She gradually adapts, but it is difficult for her. Going out to find work was a challenge she thought she would never overcome. Her first job was in a craft store as a retail saleswoman.

Paola’s first contact with the library was when she learned about its college scholarships and applied for one, which was approved. After her college work, she had to do her social service requirement. Once she finished that assignment, she was moved to the reception desk. Then, a little over a year ago, she was offered the position of administrative assistant. Since then, Paola has been officially working inside the library.

It was hard at first for her to adapt, as her passion was sales, and there were some management situations in which she didn’t feel very confident. But, thanks to the help of her colleagues Octavio and Ángel, she has learned a lot about administration.

She is now very happy, doing her part and helping the library to keep moving ahead. She is in charge of invoicing, pricing quotes, and controlling expenses, not only in the library but also in the café, the theater, and the newspaper. Paola even manages Atención reporters’ traffic receipts, so she has direct contact with all areas.

Her goal is to continue working in the library because she knows that the work there is done for the cause of education. The work done in offices, fundraising, administration, and other areas of the library supports the neediest of young people so that education can prevail in society.

She feels that far from being just a job, her work is social work. She helps to keep the library going with limited resources, and she would like to continue in her position to make this institution grow more and more. She feels it’s a way of fighting for something better.

Paola has in mind to someday open her own business and to travel to destinations in Mexico like El Cañón del Sumidero in Chiapas and international destinations like Greece. She would like to know Greek mythology in depth.

“There are no obstacles or situations where you can’t do the things you want to do,” she says, “as long as you have the attitude or the desire to do things, you can do them,” Paola concluded.

 

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