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CFCC student is ready to get the world in shape

Linda Rivera
After 20 years in retail and customer service, adult learner and mom Linda Rivera decided it was time for a career change. With a love for keeping her family healthy, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. And she found CFCC’s Health and Fitness science program to be the perfect warm up.

Passion Meets Need

This passion for healthy living cultivated a desire in Rivera to inspire others to get active, work out properly, and live healthy lifestyles.

“Life expectancy has increased in years,” said Rivera. “People are starting to think about their health and long-term care. I want to help them attain long-term wellness.”

What’s more? There is a growing demand for fitness experts and personal trainers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, exercise trainers and group fitness instructors are among the top 10 fastest-growing occupations between 2020 and 2030.

Community and Confidence

The small student-to-teacher ratio at Cape Fear Community College creates a close-knit environment for Rivera and her classmates.

“CFCC has given me confidence that I can do this,” Rivera said. “And I’ve got a team behind me to help me reach my goals. I recently started the program, and it has been an amazing experience already. I cannot wait for the rest of my education.”

“The faculty, the staff, and the students have been so helpful since day one,” Rivera shares. “I feel like I am at home here. This is where I’m supposed to be.”

The community and support among her classmates encouraged Rivera to get involved on campus. As a member of the Health and Fitness Science Club, Rivera learns how to prepare for future classes and careers, hears from experts in the field, and meets people with similar goals. Furthermore, Rivera participates in intramural sports and a student sports club that includes group activities such as flag football, basketball, soccer, and softball.

Linda Rivera Rivera credits CFCC with giving her the confidence to accept the challenges outside of the curriculum. Shortly after she began the program, Rivera entered the WILMA Dash, Wilmington’s only all-female 5K run/walk, marking her first-ever 5K. At 36 years old, she was thrilled to have finished 66 out of 200 participants.

Crossing the Finish Line

After her CFCC graduation in 2023, Rivera plans to transfer to UNCW where she will continue in pursuit of a doctorate degree in physical therapy.

She encourages everyone who will listen to enroll at Cape Fear Community College. “There are programs here that absolutely fit whatever you are looking for,” Rivera said. “Go for it.”

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