Yesterday, June 28th, was my last day as a community college student at Contra Costa College. A lot has happened to me since graduating from high school in 2013. It is 2016 now and I’m headed off to my university— San José State University.
It was only when I reached my dorm room door and noticed the swarm of people moving, unpacking, and hugging each other. My first thought was “Waow…I really am going away from a lot”, and my second was “I wonder if the food is good”.
My first week of school exceeded my expectations. There were mobs of students walking through dorm hallways looking for people, someone to talk to, someone to make friends with.
I am looking forward to meeting new people from completely different backgrounds and different parts of the state, and maybe even other parts of the world.
Reminiscing on my first semester of college, I’m very thankful for having the right to pursue a higher education. The semester allowed me to not just grow academically but also socially. One of the many experiences that I enjoyed this semester in college is living on campus. Living on campus not only exposed me much more to the campus environment but also to my college community. I’ve made many friendships from freshmen to graduate students through this experience of living on campus. I’ve truly enjoyed it so much.
Every week there’s always new opportunities to meet others and get involved on campus. This semester I became a part of the EOP volunteer program at my school where I helped recruit high school seniors to apply to EOP and also participated in panels to answer questions that students might have with my experience with EOP. I’m also part of a peer mentoring program in my school called FE where I visit a high school senior at a local high school in San Jose every Friday morning to make sure he’s fulfilling all his college duties such as college applications, scholarship applications, etc which I’m also helping him with. I plan to continue these programs for the spring semester and future semesters.
Looking towards the spring semester I’m going to be working at my school’s student store which will allow me to not only gain job experience but also meet more people that maybe don’t live on campus. Academically I plan to take more advantage of the many tutoring services that’s provided at my school especially since I’m going to be taking more challenging courses such as calculus and chemistry. Also, I will take more advantage of the office hours of my professors if problems in my classes were to arise. If I had the opportunity to speak to myself back in August 2011, I would tell myself to really strive for the grades that I’m capable of getting and to not just settle for a B when I can achieve higher than that. Also I would tell myself to get involved with just one program on campus because it’s very time consuming and most of my time should be dedicated to my courses.
– Edgar, San Jose State ’15
My first semester in college was exciting yet challenging. I had to get used to a new environment starting by living on my own. This gave me a sense of independence, but at first it was hard to get use to. When I first moved in to my dorm, I was a bit scared because I knew that I was going to be on my own, and my parents where no longer going to be there with me. It took me a while to get use to it but I got through it. Although it was hard to get use to living on my own, I really liked the sense of independence and the feeling of doing things on my own. I really liked all my classes, although I did have two remedial classes, they helped be strengthen my writing and math skills. Throughout my first semester I was taking a child development class which required a service learning project. I decided to get involved in the Child Development Center in San Jose State and this experience was great.
Next semester I will give myself more time. Ever since I started college, time seems to go by extremely fast and I need more of it. I will learn how to manage my time more wisely and dedicate each minute to my academics. Socially, I will make more effort to make more friendships. I went in to college already knowing a couple of people, but for next semester I would like to expand my friendships. If I had the chance to speak to myself back in August, I would tell myself that confidence is everything. When I first started, my confidence wasn’t at the level I wanted it to be, but then I took a public speaking class and this helped me build my confidence. Now my confidence is where I want it to be and I know that as I continue my college years it will continue to increase.
– Alejandra, San Jose State ’15
During the summer to prepare for college, I attended my orientation which is where I had the opportunity to register for my classes, familiarize myself with San Jose State and my freshmen class. Before the summer orientation, I was nervous and excited about starting college in the fall. During my orientation, I had the opportunity to meet the faculty, staff, upperclassmen, freshmen and experienced a tour of the whole campus. I gained knowledge about the wonderful services that the school’s programs provide such as EOP. EOP provides tutoring services, advising, volunteer opportunities, and many more.
After attending orientation, I felt more than prepared to begin my college education at San Jose State and also motivated to get involved with the campus community. This semester I am looking forward to meeting new people and create lifelong friendships. I’d like to make friends who will support me not only in college, but in my life following graduation.
I am looking forward to pushing myself to earn the best grades possible because in high school I settled for only passing my classes. I now have a second chance to earn excellent grades in school. I am looking forward to getting actively involved with my school, and I’m debating whether or not I should join a fraternity. I definitely want to volunteer as much as I can with student organizations. From orientation, I was told that EOP provides countless volunteering opportunities for its students so I’m definitely going to look into that more as the semester progresses.
– Edgar, SJSU ’15
Transitioning to college has made me realize how a person starts becoming independent. I am now two months into college, living on campus and realizing that a new transition to a new environment can be very challenging.
At first when I started to get settled in it was a week before school started. All I focused on during that week was meeting new people and trying to figure out what kind of paperwork I needed to turn in regarding my remedial classes. As a remedial student and part of the EOP program I am required to attend tutoring for 90 minutes per remedial class. I am currently taking two remedial classes which are English and Math. I was a bit ashamed at first because “remedial” to me sounds like someone that doesn’t know or understands a concept. However, I noticed that the majority of freshman students here at San José State take remedial classes. I did not feel alone or ashamed once I started taking the courses.
The first week of school began, and right away when I entered I knew that the teacher meant business. The very first day we only went through the syllabus or what they call the green sheet, and I started to notice that everything was going to be fast-paced. This made me realize that college is nothing compared to high school. After the first week is when I started to feel the pressure. Essays were due the next day of class as well as any other homework that was given. As of today, I have been through two midterms and they were intense. I put all my hard work and I studied numerous hours and felt pretty confident on some of the midterms.
Overall, I am still getting adjusted to the face-paced life of college. I have learned how to value my time because it goes by very quickly when I am studying. College by far has been a great experience I have learned valuable multi-tasking and time-management skills.
– Alejandra, SJSU ’15