As week three comes to a close, I am suddenly finding myself already preparing for midterms, but that’s the quarter system for you. I’ve been in Southern California for a month now, and it’s quite different from the bay, that’s for sure. Temperatures reaching 90-100 daily, and the feeling of a hot, stickiness coming over me when I step outside, is bound to make me crave the cool breeze that Richmond had always brought me. It’s definitely a challenge, for me, who loves cold weather, but I guess that was one of the things that attracted me to an idea of a SoCal school. It’s been an interesting past weeks. I’ve explored the Hollywood Walk of Fame, discussed the struggles of the Native Americans in my Interracial Dynamics Class, learned about the different parts of the human brain in PsychBio class, and have definitely gotten a workout everyday from all the hills and stairs on campus. It’s the college life I was expecting, but at the same time, it wasn’t.
While doing some readings for my Interracial Dynamics class, I came upon a chapter titled “Homesickness”, where it described how many Native American children who were forced to attend boarding schools faced extreme homesickness due to being kept away from their families for such long periods of time. Suddenly, it hit me. Though I had only been here for a month, it felt like I had been here for much longer than that. I started missing my family, my mother’s cooking, my bed. I started missing my friends back home, and our times together. I envied my friends who were able to go home easily on the weekends, but then I realized that this was something that everybody has to go through. I needed to be present in where I was, both mentally and physically, in order to get the most of what I came here for – a solid education. All my hard work was for getting me here, and I wasn’t going to sulk around and not get the most of it. Though I still feel a longing for my home, I’ve perked up a little, and slowly am able to begin calling this school of mine, home.

Really Like It Here

In the beginning, it was kind of scary coming to a new campus, full of new people and barely knowing anyone there, but when I was going through the process of the application and there was the application for EOP as well. Once I had completed both I was accepted and I remember that EOP offer me to come and join Summer Bridge for 5 weeks. I was skeptical at first because I would be in an environment with people I don’t know and I am very timid. Then I realize that is basically what college going to be like when it starts. I joined Summer Bridge and I have to say it was the best choice I have ever made. I met new people that I am friends with now, I was able to come out of my shyness shell and It was like having a new loving family who was there for you to help you have a good experience for the upcoming school year. For having that experience, college has been great so far and I was able to have that extra step other than others because of Summer Bridge. I now know the campus so easily and I was able to help other students around. Being in this super friendly and diverse environment has been awesome it makes you feel like you belong to be there. Academic wise it’s been a little tough but I go to office hours and tutoring, so it’s mellowing it out. Now, I have a lot studying to do for my upcoming midterms but it is not too bad. These weeks have been going fast since the school is on a quarter school system. It still feels like we are in the first week.

Halfway There!

Ever since I’ve moved into my dorm, it finally sunk in that I’m officially in college. I’m no longer that high school/community college student. It is one singular thing now. I’m a student attending the University of California, Merced, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology.

Adjusting here came quicker than I realized. Maybe it was my attitude change. A new school, new town, new faces; I kind of gave up my attitude of caring. To say carefree… wouldn’t be it. There’s a lot of freedom here, something I’m not quite used to. I’m still a bit homesick even though I’ve been going home just about every week. However I’m working at my own pace to make friends here! Slowly, but surely. 🙂

Being here opens a new world for me. I don’t have a curfew over my head, I’m free to attend any social events and build who I am even further. This summer was the first summer I’ve had that wasn’t academic related. And ever since I entered the UC system, it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated because of how well my academic background prepared me. Those four years honestly paid off and I feel like I’m on top. I’m currently taking 14 units and I like it so far. The workload is a bit heftier, but it keeps me occupied. Most students here struggle with balancing and managing their time, however, for me it’s been a piece of cake.

Although I am roughly half way finished with the first semester, this whole experience is honestly just the beginning. It’s going to get better from here. I feel as though I made the right choice attending here. The class sizes are small, the campus is nice, there aren’t too many buildings and the lecturers and TA’s are friendly. The air is clean and the stars are visible- no light pollution here! I’m not too far away from home and I’m absorbed with all that goes on that makes me proud to be here. I finally receive the privilege to pick my own classes, make my own schedule, seek new learning techniques for myself and appreciate how fortunate I am to be living on campus.

It’s slowly proceeding to feel like my second home in this new profound independent atmosphere.

Leaving Home for the First Time

I moved into my dorms August 23rd, the last day I saw my family. I literally cried the whole 3 hour car ride here. That day was pretty rough, but that night was a completely different story. I adjusted really quickly after that day! I met a lot of new great people and UC Merced had a bunch of events the first 2 weeks. I felt like I was alone at the beginning and I felt like I was the only one who was homesick but to be honest, everybody was. I was actually pretty lucky to be living “close” to my family. Many, many people come from 8 hours away or even longer! I talk to my parents really often and I’m excited to go back home next weekend, but nothing beats the college experience. It’s a really nice change and I’m so glad I was brave enough to come out here rather than conform to Sonoma State University.

Transition to College

Hi everyone!

College was actually a pretty simple transition for me to walk into considering my four years at Middle College/CCC. I am thankful that I didn’t have to adapt to a whole new environment like most transfer students, but then again, I have been at CCC since 2011. I was expecting some sort of change this year, haha. However, I am saving money so no complaining there of course! It makes it easier to know where I am going and already have friends and teachers who are there by my side as well.
Over the course of the summer, I did some pre-studying for my current anatomy class and it really helped me to be on the same page with my teacher and understand when she introduced specific parts of the body. So I basically prevented myself from falling behind in confusion. I am also taking music classes and on my own time, I looked into some songs to familiarize myself.
For my first college experience (this year), my first class started on a Saturday which was a choice I made because I chose my classes, but to actually be at school on the weekend for a few hours really caught me off guard if that makes any sense. It’s nice once I got used to it because I can admit that I usually would have slept in on these days. Instead, I am being proactive and going after my educational goals.
My study habits definitely changed and forced me grow too. I am constantly thinking through my week and considering my study times carefully, turning down friends who want to hang out (otherwise known as distract me), and being effective with learning my given material.
All in all, my college life hasn’t been what I imagined it to be, but it has greatly shaped me and is increasing my wisdom every day. I owe it to the EdFund for aiding me on my journey to success! 🙂

~Matt C.

The Beginning

I was scared to start college, even if it’s community college it is college, and I was decided to do my best! I was scared to fail. I registered for 16 units, I had so many questions. Was I going to be able to handle it? Was I going to like my classes? Should I stop working and just be in school? What was expected of me? It is half way through the semester and I feel great! Some classes are really challenging and others are lighter so they balance out overall. I big surprise to me was that i liked some classes that I thought were going to be the worst. I like my classes, some more than others but I have learned to keep a good attitude.There is always chance to learn new things. I fell like a more responsible person because I am handling work and school and plus my social life. I got a promotion in work and I am now working as a bookkeeper in guest services. At first it was very challenging, I was breaking down but deep inside I knew I wanted to try harder to be able to stretch my time. I am hungry for education and knowledge. I am more and more motivated to transfer to a four year in the following years. Things have been getting harder, a bigger load of work that requires more and more study time but I enjoy learning and studying. I feel like a better person, I wake up tired but never tired enough to give up. Community college has been one of the best things that have happened to me, it was my first adult decision and a very smart one! Thank you so much Ed Fund for helping me through this! Thank you for believing in me.

College Experience

Cal State Dominguez Hills has been a wonderful experience for me so far. Everyone here is very sociable and they get along with each other. Since being here at Cal State Dominguez Hills I got the opportunity to make new friends and connections. One of my favorite thing my school is the dorms. I love the dorms because we have a lot of fun once everyone is done with their class. I also feel at home when I am at the dorms that’s why I haven’t really been home sick because I feel at home here . It’s also a great environment around our dorms. Another thing I like about my school is the campus. The reason why I like the campus is because it’s not far from my dorms, it’s not to big, and it looks nice at night time. I also like my classroom sizes because they are not that big. The professors are also really nice and helpful. I am close to all my professor because I attend office hours. That’s one thing that I like about my school is that the professor is there for you. Moving to So-Cal has been a whole new experience because I am not familiar with anything out here. So everywhere I go It’s always something new unless It’s HOLLYWOOD because everyone knows about hollywood. The Last thing I like about my school is that it is located in the middle of everything. Meaning that I am not to far from everything. So far it’s been a great experience here at Cal State Dominguez Hills. So far I am loving the college experience and enjoying this new atmosphere . I look forward to telling you guys about some more of my college experience.

Bye bye Bay Area, hello Socal!

After a good 7 hour drive, I moved in to my triple dorm at UC Irvine Middle Earth on September 20th. If I were to be completely honest, the hardest part for me was saying goodbye to my family because I’ve never been this far from home. It’s harder for myself since I can’t visit my family whenever I want due to our distance unlike other students who are 20 minutes away from school. However, saying goodbye was bittersweet I knew I wanted to be at UCI and I knew it would lead me to do great things. Attending UCI was just a huge step of mine, to open the door to a new atmosphere and the next chapter of my journey. As I stepped into my residence hall, everyone was super friendly and said hi to each other because we are all in the exact same shoes—clueless with so much independence for the first time in our lives. I met so many people and was totally overwhelmed with so many names to remember. Aside from move in weekend, I’ve only been in Irvine for 2 days but it feels like I’ve lived here for months. There’s so much walking around in college compared to high school and I’m not used to it yet but I know I eventually will be! My roommates and I were panting and so out of breath and class hasn’t even started yet. You might be wondering what are we doing walking around all over campus? Well, in the quarter school instruction for us doesn’t start until September 24th so the student body of UCI as well as many other clubs have been hosting Welcome Week events from a concert to a movie in our very own Aldrich Park, to an Anteater Involvement Fair (which is basically Club Awareness day except ten times more crowded), to a hypnotist show, to a ton of social gathering events with FREE food, and even trying to set the record for the World’s Largest Game of Capture the Flag! Well, that’s it for now I’m leaving now to go explore the campus some more and try to become more involved even if I get lost (which is 100000% bound to happen)

Why I Chose an HBCU

Growing up as a young African-American female in California, Richmond, California, to be exact, I always I wanted to leave the economically challenged inner city I called home to make a better life for myself. I knew the only way this would be possible was if I pursued higher education. Not many people growing up in my neighborhood went to college, and when they did, they stayed in-state. I wanted to be different from most of my peers and not only go out of state, but even better, go to an Historically Black College/University (HBCU). I am now a freshmen at one of the top HBCUs in the nation, Tuskegee University (TU). There are many different factors that helped me choose TU to be my home for the next four years, but for the purpose of this essay I will focus on three; the professors and staff, the supporting atmosphere, and the diversity.

I believe that all HBCUs around the world have some of the most caring professors, faculty, and staff members known to man. Most of the teachers and professors here have a mission to help young African-American men and women prosper and to ensure that they make a difference in the world. They go out their way and provide their talents, skills, and abilities to help students be all that they can be and more. Now this is does not mean that predominately white institutions (PWI) do not have caring professors, faculty, and staff members, however, I think that they are more commonly found at HBCUs because of the amount of students.

When attending an HBCU, students are joining a family. The atmosphere is extremely supportive from the staff to the students. There is always someone there to help with pretty much anything when needed. There are many alumni programs just for HBCUs that will help financially as well. This makes it so that no one feels left out and like their back is against the wall with nowhere to go or no one to turn to. Also, it is likely that when entering the real world, students will run into other fellow alumni from either their university or from one of the other 105 historically black college/universities in the United States.

The diversity of HBCUs may surprise many people. A lot of us expect HBCUs to be like our black neighborhoods and black schools however, that’s not necessarily the case. There are students of many different races and nationalities from around the world that attend historically black colleges every year. The majority of the student population has been, now is, and I’m sure always will be African-Americans, nonetheless, level of diversity continues to rise at HBCUs.

Overall I feel as though historically black collages and universities give young African-American students a safe place to learn, grow, and empower one another. I made one of the best decisions of my life by choosing an HBCU for my undergraduate years and more importantly, by choosing Tuskegee University.