Jordyn Rajala


Jordyn Rajala at Bay College West

Jordyn Rajala was born in Iron River, Michigan. She moved to South Carolina when she was 7, Green Bay at age 10, then back to Crystal Falls at age 12. She graduated from Forest Park High School in 2018.

Jordyn is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice possibly to become a lawyer, a probation officer, or to work in child protective services. She has a strong desire to help people and the courage to stand up for what is right. Her dream job would be a Crime Scene Investigator because she loves trying to solve mysteries and unfolding new information. 

Jordyn chose Bay because she wanted to stay close to home and show people that you can be successful even at a community college. She loves it here because she appreciates the one-on-one attention and enjoys knowing her classmates and instructors on a personal level.  Jordyn exclaimed, “There are so many amazing opportunities at Bay such as free counseling, tutoring, yoga and free lunch on Thursdays!”

She was surprised at how nice and understanding everyone is at Bay. All of her classes overlap in a way and each instructor has his/her own teaching style. All the different teaching perspectives have allowed Jordyn to understand the material thoroughly which she contributes to her success.

Terri Doepker has had a huge impact on Jordyn in so many ways. Terri is very sweet and open to admitting mistakes which has shown Jordyn the importance of not being ashamed of her own failures. Terri is easy to communicate with and she relates personal experiences to her classroom lessons which helps Jordyn retain the information. “She is an amazing instructor,” Jordyn states. Jordyn also stated that every instructor has had an impact on her because they have been understanding and supportive in many ways. She states, “Terri just stuck out the most to me.”

Jordyn shared, “I want everyone to know that nothing is impossible. Your life is in your hands and you make your own decisions.” She was diagnosed with epilepsy last year causing her to have anxiety attacks; which never happened until after her first seizure. The anxiety attacks can trigger seizures so Jordyn has learned to manage her anxiety with breathing exercises, drawing, playing with her cats, and getting hugs. “Being close to someone and being held when I feel anxious is very calming to me,” she said.  Jordyn wants other students to know that no matter what challenge they are facing, there is always a solution. She advises to find someone to talk to or reach out to an instructor for help.

Jordyn’s motivation to attend college and be successful is her grandfather. Unfortunately, he passed away when she was 15. She and her grandfather had a very special bond. Although he missed out on some important life events, she knows he is still with her. She stated, “At my high school graduation I let off a balloon for him in his memory, because of the impact he had on me throughout my years of life.” Her motivation to persevere when times get tough is knowing her grandfather is proud.

She is a full time student, drives from Crystal Falls Monday through Thursday, and maintains a 30-hour per week employment. “Driving helps me clear my mind so I always have an open and clear focus when I arrive on campus,” Jordyn explained. She credits her amazing support system at home, work, and Bay for coping with her demanding schedule. Her two cats, Limpopo and Snooki, are amazing for her as well. They always know when she is stressed or sad, and they cuddle her to make it all worthwhile.

One thing Jordyn learned at Bay is life is too short to hold grudges. She stated, “You’re not going to get along with everyone here; however, you can manage to get along by communicating. Teamwork is huge, especially going into the Criminal Justice field.” Her Criminal Justice instructor mentioned to her, “Sometimes you’re going to have to sit in a vehicle with an assigned partner you can’t stand; but in that moment your life depends on them, so you have to learn to get along.”