The Meaning of a Higher Education

I was usually the kid to know all the answers in class and the kid who had no shame in raising his hand to give the answer. That changed, drastically. The classes here were harder to keep up with, the academic rigor from Kennedy high school and Chico State were not at all the same. I felt really intimidated by my classmates here, to say that their vocabulary was intense would be an understatement, when they spoke their sentences were articulate, full of deep diction and complexity. My classmates had been raised in very privileged neighborhoods, where they got a better and deeper education. Once I finished assimilating this, I finally realized the drastic disadvantage of getting my education in an area like Richmond.

The intimidation didn’t last very long, about 2 weeks at most. I started working into bettering myself academically and mentally. After about a month in school the complex diction came to me naturally. I started working myself up to the same academic level of my peers. Now, I can confidently say that I am at that same level and working towards excelling and surpassing them. I am getting higher grades on my papers and assignments than most of my “privileged” classmates. However, it hasn’t been a walk in the park, the task took very hard work; I dedicate about 3-8 hours in the library every day, including weekends now. I’m taking 18 units; I honestly feel like I committed social and academic suicide, I’m struggling really hard to stay on top of all my classes. However, I plan on getting a 4.0 this semester, or making it to dean’s list at the very least.

I have started getting really involved on campus; I am tutoring elementary school kids through a program called CAVE (Community Action Volunteers in Education). Also I am now a member of a student success center called CSSC (Chico student Success Center). In addition, starting this spring I will now officially be part of the CSU Chico, Honors program. Lastly and most importantly, I am starting Chico States’ very first AB-540/DREAMer club, the staff of the university is being very kind by providing me with all the resources I need to get it started, I am mobilizing students all around the campus to get this going. Overall, I’m meeting very important people here on campus, who now recognize me by both face and name.

In all, College is truly what I expected it to be.  I’m doing great! Life in Chico is amazing! The environment here is very different than that of Richmond. I am learning a lot; I’m getting the deeper insight into life as I hoped for. I am having a blast would be an understatement. I am finally fulfilling my dreams of being in college. I wake up every morning excited and happy to go to class. I am very excited to share my experiences with everyone. For those high school kids reading this, nothing is impossible, with hard work and determination anything is possible. Look at me, I’m an AB-540 student, I didn’t have the best grades, I had no financial means to come to college, and yet here I am. I’d like to thank the Ed-fund for making it possible for me to be here!  I’d also like to stress this a lot; college is not so much about having a financially stable life, it’s about getting a deeper insight into the world, to grasp a deeper understanding of yourself and your culture. Lastly, it is to represent yourself, community and families in a positive manner. It’s truly an honor to be here.

-Dilan, Chico State ’16