The New Year

After getting a little taste of the college life at my former school, Middle College High School (located on the Contra Costa College campus), I’m again looking forward to engaging and collaborating with my fellow classmates, professors, and community at large. The connections I’ve made with the college students, faculty, and staff helped shape an amazing experience.

What I’m also looking forward to particularly at Mills College is reflecting their vision and their overall goal: to think critically, communicate responsibly and effectively, accept challenges, and gain the necessary knowledge and skills for our global and multicultural society. The words “empower”, “social change”, and “critical thinkers” are what resonate the most through the students at Mills. I want to show that through the work I demonstrate both inside and outside the classrooms.

Starting this summer in July, I will have the opportunity to start ahead in this vision through their four-week SAW (Summer Academic Workshop) residential program. Since I won’t be living on campus in the fall, I will have the chance to build that community connection during the program. During the four weeks I will have class time across four course modules: English, social justice, sociological inquiry, and mathematics and three workshops: sociology, study skills, and writing. Not only will this enhance my logical reasoning and mathematical skills, but also ensure academic and personal success through continuous academic year support and mentoring.

Currently, I’m immersed in their summer reading. This year’s summer reading is “Immigrant Voices: 21st Century Stories” edited by Achy Obejas and Megan Bayles. For each of the eighteen stories included in the book, are discussion questions we will go over during orientation in August to engage in our first literary discussion. I know this upcoming academic year will be full of new and exciting experiences and I can’t wait to take part in them this fall.

Summer College Experience

As a first generation college student I was afraid; I did not know what to expect going into college. I was as nervous as anyone to step into a new environment. Not only was I afraid of the financial part of college but also the socializing part. I had all these doubts going through my head about whether I would really be able to keep up with everyone. I did not feel prepared enough coming out of high school. So, when an opportunity came up for a four week long summer program on campus, I thought that would be the perfect chance to see if college was for me.

After those four strenuous weeks, I am definitely grateful for having gotten the chance to participate in a summer program at Mills to enhance my learning abilities. The program taught me many valuable lessons like the importance of developing good study habits and taking care of myself when faced with stress. I made friends in the program that I can see myself keeping long-term. Everything that I experienced over the summer made me  even more excited to start college. I am eager to learn more about the world and what I can do to create a positive change in it.

This program has given me the confidence I need to go to college with my head held high now that I have some of the tools I need to succeed. The college has a nurturing atmosphere that has really calmed my nerves. Before the year starts I want to organize my planner with important deadlines for the school year, for example, the financial aid payment deadlines. This summer program has really opened my eyes to a whole new learning environment which I am very excited to be a part of. I am still nervous about how tough the curriculum will be because I know it will not be anything like high school, but that will not stop me from what I came to college to do: to make a difference.

Metamorphosis

When people think of Oakland, they think of a city with a never ending plague of violence. Living in Oakland, I learned that it was much more than that. Although some people weigh the bad over the good, Oakland also has a beautiful, rich culture lurking in every different corner, and people full of life, hope, and fight. Going to school at Mills College has helped me learn more about myself, the place I’ve lived my entire life (the Bay Area), and the world in whole.

At the beginning of the year, every student living on campus received a Clipper card for use on AC Transit an unlimited number of times. Mills does this to encourage students to leave campus and learn more about the area they’re in, and really take in the cultural diversity and activities that are dispersed around the Bay Area. I remember I use to be very hesitant to take the bus, but after getting use to a certain route, I grew more comfortable. The bus was a great resource to learn more about the community because they went around the different parts of Oakland that I’ve never seen before. Interacting with the people here also made me realize that it’s silly to condemn an entire city when most of its parts included good food, good culture, and good people. These people were no longer willing to sit in the shadows and were now ready to fight for the glory of their city, and the safety of their friends and family. As a volunteer at Highland Hospital, I’ve also learned more about the people in this community. Highland hospital was basically a safety net for the shortcomings of the governments’ health reform laws, and provided for people beyond what they could sometimes provide. I chose to volunteer at this specific hospital because I truly believed in what they were doing, which was aiding people of all ages, races, and backgrounds regardless of whether or not they had the means of pay.

Of incredibly large amount of things I’ve learned and picked-up, I’ve got to say that the most important to me was that I’ve learned to budget my time more graciously, and I’ve become a more compassionate, free-willed, and free-thinking person. Although it may seem stereotypical for me to feel this way because I’m going to a woman’s college, I’ve developed into a feminist. Mills has taught me to open my eyes in the directions I’ve been scared to look at, and really think about what everything means for everyone. Mills has taught me to think.