Proud Gator

After my first week attending SF State University, I can say that college is an amazing place! Throughout the five days that I have been a SF State Gator, I have a lot of people and have already learned a lot. The learning process in college is so much different than it was in high school. I feel that Now I am learning and going through material five times faster than I did in high school. Everyone on campus seems so social, focused, and nice. The people I have come to know on campus have all these characteristics as well. Although I live closer to school, commuting is the only thing I can say is pretty boring, however it is worth while since I know I am going somewhere I like to be. During the summer I visited SF State more than a couple times, and got the hang of navigating around in and around school. During this time I also discovered many resources that are available to me as a student. I am very confident about my four year journey so far now that I know how the environment is around me. Before school started I joined two support groups as well: EOP and Metro Academy. These two groups make sure I am on track to graduating and receiving my Bachelor’s Degree. As of now I am taking 14 units and trying to complete my General Education requirements. I am very anxious to complete these requirements so I can begin taking my Computer Science courses as the University. This is just my first week attending college and I already feel great due to all the support I have at school and from my family. I am the first of seven to go to college so I intend to achieve my set goals and make my family proud.

Mosaic

The amount that I’ve learned about myself in this limited time is amazing to me, but there is still so much I have to learn about myself. It is a slow and complex process that is unique to everyone. I find myself constantly looking back at old photos, social media profiles, sketchbooks, yearbooks anything that holds the “old” me. At first I thought I did this because I missed the past but I was wrong, I looked at the “old” me because I realized that the me in those photos, writing those status were completely different from the me writing this post at this very moment. I always thought that I would be one of those people that never change, or at least not drastically; but I have changed in so many ways. I have changed my way of thinking, both school wise and socially. I have grown more confident in expressing who I am and although it is still a struggle I face I have come so far from where I was. Before, the “old” me would shy away from complex topics on political issues or social issues but the me now can barely sit straight in my seat in silence. I feel the need to express my opinion when asked (and sometimes when not asked) at every chance. I feel the need to educate my peers on current national and world issues because ultimately that is why we are all here, to learn and to teach; as college students we have this power to change our world for the better one step at a time. The “old” me would have never thought that I could change anything, however there is a constant change within myself, within the choices I make and the people I choose to surround myself with. The strength I feel from this change is overwhelming but it is relaxing to know that almost all of my peers are feeling the same. Going through this process with peers is a beautiful experience, we can learn and grow from each other, lean on each other and be there for each other (or not be there for each other). This process helps us find ourselves, the journey everyone is concerned with; finding out who we are and where we fit in and soon the “new” us will be the “old” us and the cycle will continue. Continuing this cycle and how it intertwines with others is what I look forward to in the upcoming term.

Mega-Evolution College Student

What surprised me most about my college experience, is all that I have learned about myself. I’ve learned how much I love college. Trying to picture myself not being in college is almost impossible because I feel so at home here, I finally feel that I am where I am supposed to be. I have a lot of time to reflect on myself and who I am, I’ve learned that I can’t procrastinate for the life of me I have to do everything early. I’ve also learned that I am super punctual and need a plan for everything rather it be school or just hanging out. I’ve grown very close to some of my teachers more than I have with my fellow classmates, since being in college I’ve kept to myself a lot more than I ever had but I don’t mind it too much. I’ve learned that I am a pretty big activists, I keep well up to date with current issues going on form the Michael Brown case to current LGBTQ issues and college gives me the chance to express my opinions and make a difference more than I ever had been able. The most difficult part is being apart from my friends and my family, I miss hanging out with my friends driving around and being able to be my true self around them but I look forward to breaks where we can have good old times. College has been such a great experience and it was the missing puzzle piece to my being, college hasn’t been a walk in the park but everyone need a challenge ever so often. I can really see the payoffs from College and what a privilege it is and I can’t wait to see what the next four years will be like.

Bittersweet Summer

Bittersweet. That is all that comes to mind when I think of this summer, and bittersweet is quite the understatement. The summer before college is suppose to be the most fulfilling summer of your life, or at least one of them. It’s suppose to be filled with road trips, sleepovers, hangouts in cities, amusement parks and infinite trips to the beach and I can tell you I only did one of the following. My summer was automatically killed when I found out I needed to take a 8 week summer math class, again; and not only did I need to take the class but I could take it at SFSU. Going into the city from where I lived was basically 10 dollars a day on BART PLUS bus fare, I cried about it a lot and when my teacher wouldn’t show up to class when he was ‘sick’ I cried even more. I’ve made a lot of great friends from this class that made the horrid commute worth it and I got to know the campus better and not hate it as much as I used to. The money I had to pour into class restricted me from hanging out a lot and being stuck at home during summer is the most depressing thing ever, but on the rare occasions I got to go out I certainly lived it up. Stress played another factor in my summer, stress from my home life, stress from not getting a job; it seemed all the barriers I broke before were nothing to the titanium gates this summer was throwing at me. Every time it looked like college was out of my reach some sort of blessing always flew my way. One day, after my class I was waiting with my friends for the muni when I got an email from housing; of course I was expecting it to tell me I was 26 on the waitlist for the fourth time or simply that I would have to look somewhere else. To my surprise it was a confirmation email that I would be moving into the dorms on August 21 and at that moment everything fell into place and the iron weights on my shoulders were lifted off. I was finally able to have the first year college experience I always dreamed of. As I count down the days until move in day I can’t help but think back to the college application process, the struggle for scholarships and financial aid; and I’m thankful to have Ed Fund make my college dream a little more possible. It all leaves a bitter sweet taste that I have grown to appreciate.

A new chapter in life.

On July 18th, I had my college orientation. I woke up at 5:30 am, and was exhausted. The previous night, before orientation, was spent with me pondering on what college would be like. My day was starting off stressful due to negligence on my part. I had forgotten to investigate my route, and was thinking of how would I get to SFSU. After a copious amount of time, spent printing out a map, my sister and I headed out.

I felt very minuscule in such a large campus, but happy I had finally stepped into what would be my college for the next four years. My sister, and girlfriend, were mentoring me in what college classes- and times- I should take. In the end, I chose my classes on a MWR basis. At first, I wanted to take 15 units- but I ended up dropping a class I had already taken( and didn’t notice I was taking again).
My first weeks in college have gone really well, and I’ve been able to learn many things of interest. I’ve been able to make a few friends, and they have helped my transition from high school to college better. Making friends in college is hard because it feels like some people are just going to ignore you, but that’s okay because the ones who don’t are amazing.

I felt prepared to take on college because I had already been exposed to it’s rigor. LPS Richmond, my high school, made sure that every graduating senior had already known how tedious college work can be- and that every future college student needs to be meticulous in order to survive. Also, I had already taken Math 164 in CCC during the summer of 2012.

Although college rigor wasn’t a new thing to me, the workload is still stressful. Fortunately, I have Tuesdays and Thursdays off. On my days off, I wake up early and do my homework. I know that if I relax on my days off, my midterms and finals will be hell on earth to me.
What I look forward to in college is growing as a person, and being able to take my knowledge and use it to give back to the community.

Also, I look forward to living a college experience. I’m not so sure what a college experience is to others, or to me, but I wish to define it throughout the years- because it MUST be more than studying and going to class. What I’m not looking forward to in college is commuting. I wake up every day, and commute in the cold weather. After class, it’s usually very late and dark- and my parents get worried about me. Although commuting isn’t the best, I wake up grateful every day to have the opportunity to go to college. As a AB540 student, I didn’t have as much opportunities as I wished I did. One of my disadvantages was my financial aid packet. However, just by knowing I’m able to receive an education makes me wake up with a smile and say “College, I’m ready for you”.

College Freshman? Definitely!

Starting high school now seems like nothing compared to starting college. In high school, you receive everything on a silver platter. All you have to worry about is keeping your grades up to pass the class. And in your junior year, you start to think about college.

Now that college has arrived, I did not know what to expect. I was nervous on my first day. The fact that I didn’t know anyone made me even more nervous. College is really different from high school. There are no bells that tell you when a class starts and when they end. It’s your own responsibility to arrive to class on time. Also, you can pick your own classes that are necessary for the pre-requisites. The teachers are really nice, too. They do assign more work and you have study a lot, but that’s college. College is about studying more in depth for what you want to major in. I really like this school.

I’m really grateful for my parents who help and support me in attending college. Without them, I would still be battling myself on either going or not. They were proud that I graduated high school, and they are even more happy now that I’m a college freshman. I am the first in my family to achieve these two steps.

I’m looking forward meeting new people and graduates to help me along the way of college so I can graduate on time. I know it won’t be easy, but that’s why I am determined to work hard and to never give up. I really hope to know the school better and the teachers and students so my experience in a new school would be more rich and full of life. 🙂

Getting Ready for College

As I prepare to go into college, I can say I feel more ready than before. It hasn’t been an easy experience having to learn how to be independent as I prepare to take an important step in my life. I’m glad that I have people around me that are willing to help me. Without their help, I would have been clueless. I have now learned to make my own phone calls and communicate with my school if I have any questions.

The On Our Way event at UC Berkeley was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far to help me prepare to go into college. When I saw how long it is was going to be I thought it would just be filled with lectures, but I was wrong. There were hundreds of students at this event and we were divided into smaller groups based on the college we are going to attend in the fall. We were then taken to classrooms on campus and had an instructor that gave us helpful information about our school.

I also had the chance to interact with others that will be going to the same school as me and was able to make new friends. I never imagined that there would be so many people that had the same interests as me. I learned about one of the many programs available at my school called the Crews Program. It is an interesting program that helps students adapt to college life and encourage students to connect more to their campus. I was able to talk to one of the leaders and during lunch time, she talked to me about what to expect and her experience as a freshman in college.

Besides workshops they had for us, there were also games that could help students with their everyday college life. It has happened that we can wake up late to go to school and end up rushing to get dress. There was game to see which team could put on and take off a shirt the fastest. These games were planned, so that we used team work to try to win and also start bonding with students that will be going to school with us. I look forward to all the new experiences that I will have in college, such as meeting new people, learning new material, and joining groups to be more connected to my school. I know college work won’t be easy I feel like I will struggle at first, but I know I will learn to adapt to it.

Big City Livin’

Although it sounds cliché, college is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. I have always heard of the huge classes, deadlines, and the fast past working environments of higher education, but you do not know what to expect exactly until you are actually there. Coming as a freshman to San Francisco State University was a total wake up call for me. As I walked into my first ever college class I knew right away that it was going to be nothing like any high school I have ever been to. My Psychology 200 class was held in an auditorium where we had had a talent show during our Welcome Days. Therefore, I sat in the midst of eight hundred plus students. I felt like just one single rain drop falling into a huge ocean. I came into college thinking I would be able to have a personal relationship with my professor, getting assistance during class whenever needed. I was taken a back a bit when I found out I would have to save my questions and visit them later during the day or week during their office hours in order to get a deeper understanding and the personal help I needed on a topic. Keeping track off with office hours, studying for tests and quizzes, keeping up with readings, and writing essays can get a little overwhelming, especially when there is no one reminding you of any deadlines. However, college life isn’t all stress. There are plenty on campus events that gets students involved to ensure they are having a good time. San Francisco State University has monthly dances, carnivals, talent competitions, free events, etc. San Francisco State is also in one of the most eventful cities in the west coast, so there are always free concerts and activities in which the school keeps you updated through a website. Along with college, come fun events and opportunities that assist you in gaining a lot of independence. Also college really helps you find who you are as person. I am looking forward to finding out more about myself. Every day I am finding myself thinking on a more critical level, discovering that things that I thought mattered does not matter at all now. I can feel myself maturing more with every bill I pay. As a struggling college student living off campus, in a townhome across from school with five other roommates, I’m really finding out the value of a dollar. I am also discovering all the advantages of higher education. Although there are times where I feel burdened and stressed, I know every day is just one step closer to a better future. I wake up every morning thinking, “Do I want to be like a fish stuck in a fishbowl, swimming in circles? Or do I want to branch out and become a fish in the ocean, full of opportunities?” I do not like having limits, and I know once I get my degree the sky is the limit. So it may be hard now, but hard work pays off.

-La’Chelle Watson, SF State ’16

Lessons Learned from the First Semester

My first semester in San Francisco State was intense and a life-changing experience. Because of it, I have a different view about college and life. This semester I faced adversity, but I never gave up because I knew that if I did, I would not make it through college. Calculus was a challenging subject; there was a point where I thought that I could not get trough it and frustration was in every corner.

What I like about San Francisco State is the diversity; I met a lot of people from different backgrounds. A lot of students face the same struggles as me, such as finding financial aid and having to commute to San Francisco. I am glad that I made a lot of friends because at the end of the semester they helped to understand some of the material in my classes and thanks to them I did well in my classes.

If I could go back to last summer I would advice myself to not procrastinate because most of the time on this past semester I used to do my homework at the last minute and there were cases that I could not turn in my homework because it was too late to turn them in. By the end of the semester I had learned to do my homework well in advance of the deadline. People learn from their mistakes and believe me, I have learned a lot. This upcoming semester I will try my best and redeem myself from what I did and did not do last semester.

– Jose, SFSU ’15

Reflections on the First Semester

I like being in a new environment and seeing different faces every day. I enjoy meeting new people from different parts of the United States as well as different countries with so many different cultural backgrounds, religions, beliefs and opinions. I like the fact that I get to choose my own classes according to my interest. I also admire how SFSU has a small campus; it allows me to get to class on time without being out of breath.

Many people are going through the same changes, making it easy to relate to others. I love the more rigorous academics. I enjoyed having classes on a subject surrounded by people who were really interested and wanted to be there. And there are so many opportunities on college campuses. There is the Greek system, clubs, and groups, all of people gathering with common interests. So far, I have joined “SHPE” Society of Hispanic Engineers and MEP also known as MESA. I love how one of my professors, who I met ahead of time during the Summer Engineering Institute at SFSU has been mentoring me as well as introducing me to new opportunities. The one thing I love most about college is being able to live at home for free because I have peace and quiet when it is time to study and I do not have to worry about my dorm room getting broken into.

So far I would not change the route that I have chosen to be successful academically and socially because I have managed to make friends outside and inside of class and I continued to be punctual and focused just like how I was in high school. I was afraid that I would not do very well because of the rumors that all the freshmen were failing but I maintained above a 3.5 and I will continue to do so. One thing I will change is to try to get as much sleep as possible. I had too many sleepless nights; sometimes I would only get 4 hours of sleep. Hopefully next semester, I will be able to get a decent amount of shut-eye.

A bit of advice I would give to myself back in August and all new freshmen is, “Be cool, it’s going to be alright.” My stress level was sky-high because I was over-thinking everything. I was pushing myself to obtain passing grades, turn in all my assignments on time, and to stay awake in class. Stressing is not the solution. It did not help me at all; it only made matters worse. Next semester, I am trying to have at least one day out the week when I do not have class. Going everyday was about 50 bucks a week and exhausting!

– Ashley, SFSU ’15