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At my high school, the requirements to graduate were the same as the requirements to apply to a CSU, so more than 95% of my graduating class went to a community college or university right after graduating. It was expected of us by our teachers, parents and classmates to pursue higher education. At my school, you could take a maximum of seven classes per year, and I took seven every year except my senior year. I took Honors Chemistry, AP Environmental Science and AP Studio Art over the course of my high school education. I was enrolled in AVID, a four year program designed to help students prepare and apply to college. AVID gave me a support system and tons of resources for information about colleges, and helped me become more organized and take fantastic notes.
However, not everything was smooth sailing. I always struggled with math, and failed English my sophomore year, which is usually my strongest subject. After making it up in summer school, I was once again eligible to apply to college, and applied to several state schools. I finished with a 3.2 GPA, and was accepted to every school I applied to. Even after making a few mistakes, I never gave up on my dream to go to college and have a wonderful career, and now I’m working hard to graduate in a few more years.
Moving away from home, having no rules and being on your own: sounds like heaven, right? That’s what I thought when I decided to move away from southern California to the Bay Area for school at CSU East Bay. Soon I found out that I was right—at least partially. I had a blast my first year until I started to miss my family. You see, I have two younger brothers that I started to miss, a mom that would cook amazing Mexican food, and a dad that always knew what to say.
The first quarter was the hardest time. I missed my mom’s home-cooked meals and instead cooked for myself or ate a cup of noodles. I had to learn to sleep well before class and I had to adjust to working so I could afford to have a social life. In other words, I was completely on my own.
It was a huge change, but I definitely needed the experience. Being on my own made me grow and mature. When you are getting ready to graduate from college—which might be a bit far off—and you look back on your time in college as time to have grown as a person, you will be so excited and ready to move on to the next chapter of your life. Yes, you might get scared, and you might be lonely from time to time, but that’s the beauty about growing up: You overcome these obstacles and find ways to comfort yourself or find support in those around you.
I promise you: you will never experience another year of school as exciting as your freshman year for so many reasons, not just being on your own away from your family.
P.S.: Once you leave, your family always spoils you whenever you come home to visit. Good luck!
As I finish up my fourth year of college I am starting to think about the big question: what am I going to do for the rest of life, which for many is a very scary question. I am filled with nerves, excitement, and apprehension. Do I want to go to grad school or do I want to take a year off? How can I make a decision that will impact the rest of my life?! After talking with a past employer and staff member at CSU Channel Islands I was given a piece of advice that I cherish and will continue to pass on. She told me you don’t need to stress about deciding what you are going to do for the rest of your life, you just need to decide what to do next. Just like college, life is full of steps you take to progress you along your journey. Every year was a stepping stone towards my goal of graduating. So when things get stressful in high school or in college, don’t think about making a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life or for all of college… just think about what you need to do next.