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1st Year vs 2nd Year

Posted by Xiomara

My first year of college was a blur now that I think about it. I was constantly discovering new information about my campus and my education so it all seemed a bit overwhelming at times. My first year of college was where I spent most of my time figuring out how to stay organized, how to study, where to park and where to find my classes. Each quarter presented a new struggle which I finally overcame by my second year. During my second year of college, I realized the “do’s and don’ts” of college life to make my day a productive one. I learned from my mistakes and felt in charge since I was more aware of my surroundings and my needs as a student.


The first year is, really, a learning experience. You are challenged to think and act like an adult and although it may seem like an endless mission, you will get there. I suggest asking questions, look for a mentor and making every experience an opportunity to gain new information so that you become a smarter student with better tactics for the next obstacle. So hang in there, your degree is that much closer!

Beatriz Alvarez

Two Beds, Two Homes

Posted by Beatriz Alvarez

I always wanted to leave home and experience life beyond the small town I had lived in all my life. But when I moved to East Bay, I cried for weeks, thinking it was a mistake to leave my comfort zone to a place where I didn’t know anyone. It was a year until I felt completely comfortable. I became friends with my roommates and became involved in campus activities as a contributor for the school newspaper, design editor for one of the school’s literary magazine, and a volunteer in the Event Squad.

My advice: don’t quit when it gets tough. Enjoy the ride. If you ever doubt the decision you make about leaving home, remind yourself why you did. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. The Bay has become my second home. And put yourself out there and have fun. Life doesn’t always have to be so serious.

Yazmin Doroteo

A Journey I Will Never Forget

Posted by Yazmin Doroteo

I am a first generation Xicana pursuing double majors in Criminology & Justice Studies and Sociology with a concentration in Children, Youth, and Families at Cal State San Marcos. I remember being in your shoes not that long ago. It seemed stressful and frustrating because I was unsure of what schools to apply to. I was also unaware of what each college had to offer me. Even though it’s a long process, it is rewarding because you learn a lot about yourself.


The best advice I can give you is to apply to as many programs the school offers such as the Educational Opportunity Program, Student Support Services, College Assistance Migrant Program, ACE Scholars Services (support former foster youth), work study, and other amazing programs that will support you in your college journey. Every school offers different programs so make sure to contact the schools and ask.


In particular, I encourage first generation, low-income students to apply for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). The program offers services including admission counseling, academic advising, peer mentoring, student success workshops, financial assistance and much more. The CSUSM deadline is February 15, 2016. I am an EOP student myself and I have the great honor to be working for them now. I am a peer mentor who works with first-generation college students, alongside friendly and kind-hearted staff who want the best for students.


Since I became part of the EOP program I have grown as an individual and have become a profound scholar. Helen Keller once said, “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” I strongly believe this since it applies to my journey. Make sure to always try your best, I know you can ALL DO IT.



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