Robert Sanigular is a KIPP MN graduate of 2017. A graduate of Eden Prairie High School, Robert attends Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and aspires to run a personal training gym someday. KIPP Through College caught up with him at a cafe near campus on March 2, 2018.
How long have you been at MCTC?
I’ve been taking classes since fall semester, last fall semester. This is my second semester right now. I’m doing my liberal arts [degree] right now and I’m taking my personal training classes online through an ACE program, which is a way for you to get your personal trainer certificate online
What made you want to be a personal trainer?
I’ve always been fit my whole life, so once I got into college and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was like, why not fitness? It’s already a hobby, might as well just go for it. In high school I ran track for four years. I did the 4x1, the 100, and the 200, and we came second in the state for the 4x1, 2016. I would say I was a leader, a leader and a teacher on my sports team. I’d say I led by example; I could always show someone better than I could explain, I don’t know why.
What are you learning in your classes?
Right now we’re learning about the different types of anatomy for the movements of your exercise, and about nutrition. I’m also in an African American History class, it’s been sparking my interest lately. Pretty much like the Civil Rights Movement and the oppression after the Civil War, that’s what we’re learning. I’m taking a college composition class and a personal economics class. You learn how to do your taxes, retirement planning, investments. Pretty much the ins and outs of how to spend your money correctly, how to be an adult.
How would you describe your first year of college?
It’s been a little difficult because it’s kind of like you always have to stay on task because if you slip up once it’ll pile on so you have to stay on task, but it’s doable. The main thing is just staying on task. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while, to stay on task, but ever since this semester started, 2018, I’ve been spot on.
How has your advisor, Mr. Plattner, been involved in your experience?
Honestly, he’s been really helpful. He showed me the path a little bit, I would say, to let me know the importance of trying to get your education. Because before, when I first graduated high school, I was like, “I’m not going to college — I just want to work” and he was like “No, Robert, you need to go!” and I told him I was going to take a year off and work. I was working at Medtronic for a year and then when I was working there for a year and I saw all the people around me, they just looked stressed out all the time and they were adults, I was working with full-grown adults at the time and I was just 18, and I saw them and I was like, “I need to go to school because I don’t want to stay here for another 10 years.” That right there was my biggest motivation so I texted Mr. Plattner: “Hey, how can I get into MCTC this fall?” And he told me to go there and take the test. I got my results and enrolled in classes.
What was your time at KIPP MN like?
I actually only went there for one year, my eighth grade year, and my experience there… the first three months, I didn’t like it, but once I started to see what the school was actually about, to see how helpful the teachers are to the students, that’s when I kind of got a different perspective on the whole KIPP organization and the program. When they say KIPP Through College, they mean through college. It’s definitely a great program.
What’s your first priority right now? What’s getting you excited?
My biggest thing I’m working on right now is getting my certificate to be a trainer so I can actual clientele, so I can be employed as an actual trainer, by a company. Once I do that, that’s when I’m gonna work on getting my own clients. Once I finish my two years here at MCTC that’s when I’m gonna branch off and get my own gym. I’d say the most exciting thing is seeing the clients who support what I’m trying to do, really, because it’s cool to see the support coming in.
What is your job at the YMCA like?
I love it, it’s kind of a people job, so you work with people all day every day and you really gotta be a people person and a multitasker — on the phone, checking people in, gotta run to the other side and make sure everything is right, make sure the facility’s looking right.
I’ve been able to talk to the personal trainers at the Y — they’re actually the ones who told me about the certificate, how to get your certificate, because before I thought you had to go to school for two years and get your personal training certificate that way but a trainer told me you could get it online, so that’s when I went to ACE to get my certificate online and that’s the only thing you need to be a personal trainer. So then I’m going to school for something else, probably business management.
What do you do in your free time?
Lately I’ve been starting to read a little bit more, I like reading more. More African American history books, just because it was February last month, black history month. There’s that, and economics books. Self-improvement stuff. From the economics, pretty much everything that I’m learning in my personal economics class, how to be a successful entrepreneur, I’ve been reading books about how to be a good entrepreneur.
What’s some advice you’d give to younger students?
Don’t let yourself give up, pretty much; it’s gonna pay off. Listen to the teachers because they’re there to help you. And you gotta stay persistent — persistence pays.