By Chryste Lunyé Johnson
Humboldt State Alumna, BA in Psychology
Humboldt State Graduate Student, MSW
Back in my high school days – living in a poor Los Angeles neighborhood – it would have seemed impossible that I would move to the northern edge of California, bring my parents with me, and then successfully complete a bachelor’s program.
The Educational Opportunity Program at Humboldt State made all of that possible. The program reached out to me and encouraged me to apply to the university despite the distance. The EOP/Student Support Services office continued to work with me to secure financial aid and get on the right educational track. When Humboldt State EOP offered to hire me shortly after graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology, I jumped at the chance to make the same difference in the lives of other students.
As a new employee, I can’t say that I welcomed state funding cuts and furloughs when they came to the CSU. With no disposable income and little savings, the loss of pay due to mandatory furloughs meant finding a second job.
That second job at a group home for children with developmental disabilities turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I probably worked harder and longer hours than any other time in my life, but the rewards were amazing. I got to see these amazing children make their way through life with a resolve and bravery that is hard to comprehend.
Once again, my life changed directions. I left EOP, which had been such a powerful force in my college career, and went back to school for a master’s of Social Work. I also worked part-time as an in-home support service provider for a student with cerebral palsy living on campus. She and I are now great friends.
My life is filled with so many individuals facing tremendous challenges, but who also share a level of openness and determination that revives me every time I start to feel worn down. My family and I will make ends meet as I complete school, and I am confident that the next step in my life will be just as rich and fulfilling as every day has been since I came to Humboldt State.
Sometimes it is easy to think of the future as a straight path, but looking back I am most fond of the lessons learned through the many curves along the way.