Summer 2015

Even though I would like to take summer classes that is not possible for me right now. I say this because I can not afford to go to school in the summer. One reason for this is due to the fact that I attend school across the San Rafael-Richmond bridge and bus transportation is very expensive. For instance, it costs me $10 roundtrip to go to school and come back home. Another reason why it is not possible for me to attend summer school is because I will not be granted any financial aid or scholarships to cover the cost of books and fees. This is why I must work. This summer is going to be a really busy summer for me, since I have three different jobs. It has been extremely difficult to manage this. At times it can be stressful, fun, and rewarding. This will help my future in so many ways. First, it will help me to become more financially stable in the upcoming semester of college. In my first year of college, I did not feel financially stable at all because in the beginning of the semester I received a lot of money, and then two months later it felt as if the money just disappeared. Thus, having these jobs will make me feel more at ease when I go back to school since I always worry about money. Another way working this summer will help my future is that I will gain more experience as an employee and become qualified for more jobs. I definitely know that next semester I will need to be able to manage my money and actually watch where it goes. This is very important to me because next year I would like to be able to attend summer school, in order to finish college faster.

Coming to an End

With all my finals completed, I can now say that I finished my first year of college. Looking back, at the Beginning of August, I would never thought I would make it this far. I was unconfident in myself because college was something new and different for me. I managed to maintain my 4.0 GPA, despite the obstacles I encountered in my first year experience. I am very proud of myself for all that accomplished in my first year of college, since most first year students do not return back to school the following semester. I took advantage of many resources that my school offered in order to ensure that I would have a successful first year. Some resources that I took advantage of were EOPS(Extended Opportunity Program and Services), which provides low-income students with academic counseling, one-on-one tutoring for each subject and book grants. Another resource that I took advantage of is a programs called FYE(First Year Experience) that gives first year students, who are enrolled in remedial classes the tools necessary in order to get through their first year of college. My next step for the Fall semester is to continue with my general education courses and the courses required for my program.

The Unknown

Since graduating high school, I was very excited and nervous to close a chapter in my life and start a new one. College can be both exciting and frightening at the same time because while you’re furthering your education, you’re also entering a new environment. As my first day of college approaches, the more nervous I get. I will have to get accustomed to a new city, a new group of peers, and a new way of navigating the college lifestyle.

Upon entering summer, I began working for the Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) as an aide. My primary job duties were to serve children meals, and supervise and interact with children. Working for the Richmond Police Activities League was not a challenge for me because caring for children always came natural for me.  I chose to work for this company because I previously volunteered for them and wanted to gain more experience. This experience gave me an opportunity to work with children and adults, this will be beneficial to my career has a registered nurse.  With the money I earned, I decided that it was in my best interest to save the money to cover  college expenses.

Towards the end of summer, I was touring the college that I will be attending in the Fall. I decided to tour the campus because I wanted to get familiar with the college that I would be attending. I also wanted to know where my classes were exactly located. As a first time college student, I attended orientations to various programs that were offered, meeting staff, peers, and my college counselor. A particular program that I accepted to join was a program called EOPS. EOPS provides low income students book grants, tutoring, and priority registration. But somehow after all that I experienced during the summer, I felt unknown of my future and the circumstances that may come my way. I just know that if I have come this far, what other obstacles can’t I overcome?

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