First Year in College

My first year in college was definitely a great and new experience in my life. I learned that if I work really hard, I can achieve all of my goals. This year one of my goals was to get really good grades in the classroom. I wanted to start college off on the right foot. And, I did exactly that. In fact, I did better than even I expected of myself to do. I only got one B this year and the rest were all A’s; finishing the year with a 3.9 GPA.

I also learned some new skills in my first year of college. One was learning how to manage my time better. With school, playing basketball, and working at the same time, it can be very difficult to stay on track academically. However, I stuck with it and was very successful. I also learned how to take care of myself without the help of my parents, and really learned how to be an adult.

It also helped that I had a great support system from the staff at my college to help guide me through my first year. My basketball coach supported me a lot academically and so did a few great counselors at school. I enjoyed getting involved and volunteering at my campus because it is a wonderful environment and I enjoy being there.

Now that my first year of college is over, I am really looking forward to the next year. I had a great time this year and I can’t wait to make more great memories.

– Joie, Contra Costa College ‘16

First Generation Student attending College of Marin


People often say that classes at a community college are a lot easier relative to a four year college. From, my personal experience attending College of Marin for 6 weeks as a full-time student, I can surely tell you that classes are not as easy as one predicts them to be. Transitioning from High School to College has not being easy especially for a first generation Hispanic like myself. My first couple weeks of school were the toughest because I had to adapt to the college environment and learn how to get around campus. Learning to get around campus was hard as well as learning to handle such an immense amount of homework every week. Managing time to do all my homework and reading was and is still a challenge, I still struggle to overcome. One of the nice things was that I’ve got involved in the College of Marin Puente Program, which provides a mentor, counselor and English teachers especially for the Puente Students, who help us go in the right track towards transferring to a four year college and give us support along the way. 

I commute to College of Marin from my home, which is about a 35 minute drive with traffic. My college life is as I expected, I only go to school two days a week and the rest of the days I spent doing homework or working. I didn’t expect much difference because I’m living home with my parents, so I still have priorities at home. The only impression I have is from, the amount of homework professors give out. I have done as much reading in these 6 weeks of college as I would have done in a semester of school in high school. The reading a students has to do for homework in such a short time is insane especially since I’m not a person who loves reading for free time. 

After attending these past weeks at College of Marin, I am looking forward to getting my general eds classes done by this year and start my intended major classes. I am also looking forward to the events that the Puente Program has store for us and meeting more new people. I am looking forward to next semester because I will be joining the track team and hopefully I’ll learn how to manage my time wisely too keeping up with the reading and homework of each class.

-Julio, College of Marin ’14 

Life of a Culinary Student


Before I even started attending Contra Costa College’s Culinary Program, I was already very excited about being able to study and gain experience in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality field. We’ve already been in school for 5 weeks and I still haven’t lost my interest or excitement towards the program, I don’t think I will lose it any time soon either. I love coming to school dressed in my uniform, which consists of a white chef coat with my name embroidered on the left side, black chef pants, non-slip shoes, and a black beret; carrying my knife set and apron in one hand, I’m ready to tackle the day. My first few weeks of school have been amazing; I’ve met such a variety of people that all share the same interest, Culinary Arts. I’ve been able to learn all the basics and fundamentals of cooking, basic knife skills, and proper cooking method procedures. I’ve also been able to gain a lot of experience working for the 3 seasons restaurant, the Express cafe, and the Switch, all of which are outlets in our campus that produces fine quality food. It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks, and I feel that it will only get better the more I learn and spend time here.

I’ve been attending Contra Costa College since the Spring semester of 2012 as an early high school grad, so I’ve been around the college frequently and have learned where everything is through the campus, I thought that I would be ahead of the game starting my first semester in the Culinary program; I was mistaken. The Culinary Program at Contra Costa differs so much from the rest of Contra Costa College, that it almost feels like you’re attending a different school in a separated campus. Most of everything that I had found out that Spring semester became irrelevant came Fall semester. The Culinary Program existed in the Applied Arts and Administration building, and anything outside of the building seemed like it didn’t even exist. My impression of college life in Culinary school is very different from what I expected, everything is very fast paced and hands on. It’s nothing compared to any AP classes or Honors classes I’ve taken in high school. It’s different, but I like the difference. I’m learning so much more than I anticipated and I’m very happy being part of this program.

After these first couple of weeks of Culinary school, I’m very much looking forward to my next couple of semesters in the Culinary Program. I’m very excited to advance into the more challenging Culinary courses and to attend business management classes. I am excited about gaining a job in the field of Culinary arts and hospitality. But I am most excited about my plan to graduate in two years with my Associates in Science Degree: Classical/Modern Food Preparation and Restaurant Training, a Certificate of Achievement: Classical/Modern Food Preparation and Restaurant Training, and another Certificate of Accomplishment: Restaurant Management. I’ve made an educational plan for myself, and I am determined to earn this degree and these two certificates in two years. It’s my current goal, and I’m very excited about the journey that will lead me there.
Hope everyone’s having just as much fun!
–Krizta, CCC ’14

First Quarter at SCU

It’s my first time doing this so I am sorry if it isn’t great. I’m Jocelyn, a freshman at Santa Clara University and alumni from Richmond High School. First of all, when I was a senior, SCU was not one of my choices just because it was a Jesuit University. I had never heard of it until my counselor encouraged me to visit the school. After going for Open House, I fell in love with the green palm tree-filled campus, the nice people, and just about everything.

I am interested in the engineering field, and SCU was known for its great School of Engineering. I applied Early Action and knew I had been accepted before most of my classmates did. I was excited to start classes although I knew it was going to be a lot of work.

I started later than most since we are in quarter system. Surprisingly, I can’t remember much about my first day of classes. I wasn’t very nervous although I did not know anyone. All of my professors were very nice and everyone else seemed like they didn’t know many people either. There was one class in specific where I did find a couple of friends I had met at orientation, which immediately made me feel a little more comfortable. The fact that all of my classes were in actual classrooms and not auditoriums made it seem more like high school. I had homework the first day and assignments due in a couple of days already.

Midterms scared me at first. Many made it seem like a HUGE deal, while others were laid back about it. I studied, but did not study the material that was actually in the midterm for 2 of my classes. I really struggled with Chemistry and Math. I knew I should have gotten a private tutor but I thought I would be able to do fine without one. At the end, I did pass all of my classes, but could have done so much better if I had requested a tutor from the start.

Finals scared me even more. Back in high school, our finals were not very intense and most of us did not take them very seriously. From what my friends have told me, their finals were pretty intense and already had experience with them before getting to college. But I guess finals shouldn’t be a threat if you know the material. I spent a great amount of time studying without forgetting to sleep enough.

Dead week was for sure the most stressful. The mood around campus was just dead; second floor Sobrato (the building I live in) was not its regular filled with laughter and yelling. The best advice would be to not let stress get to you. It is hard, I had a couple of breakdowns, but there’s always a way.

The building I live in is probably one of the best dorms Santa Clara University has. I live in a suite-style building, where each suite has four singles and one double. Sophomores live in singles and the two freshmen share the double. We have two bathrooms (we don’t have to share a bathroom with a bunch of strangers :) and a common area with two couches, cabinets, a sink, and some furniture for a tv. It is a little more expensive than other buildings but it is worth it. I am the only Latina in my suite. At first, I wasn’t very thrilled about this since I am more comfortable with other Latinos. But I learned that this was all part of the college experience. Now, I got a couple of very close friends, a bunch of new friends and I still have my boyfriend with me. I do not go out much since I am not very big on parties, but the couple of times I have gone out with have been pretty fun. It is always entertaining seeing people do crazy things in the middle of the night. Although it is a religious school, people here still party. I’ve only been here for a quarter, but I have seen more crazy things in these 10 weeks than in my entire life. Overall, I love college. I loved the experience so much I did not want to come back home for the holidays! But thank god I am back 🙂

– Jocelyn, SCU ’14