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Melendrez said that she experienced similar pressures when she chose a carpentry apprenticeship over her college acceptances. "Many people at school tried to influence me otherwise," she said. "But they didn't understand the benefits of working construction, and they were misinformed about it as a career. People emphasize so much the importance of college, and they believe that you can't make it out any other way, but there were people who supported me and cared for me — and knew me for who I am and what I would want to do — and what would make me happy."