Yesterday, June 28th, was my last day as a community college student at Contra Costa College. A lot has happened to me since graduating from high school in 2013. It is 2016 now and I’m headed off to my university— San José State University, this fall. I truly had a great experience at my community college—especially while hustling my way to success as a transfer student. I graduated from CCC this spring of 2016, with a multitude of degrees, which I am proud about. I had spent an extra year at CCC due to the fact that I wanted to earn a certificate in something that I am incredibly passionate about— filmmaking. I give all credit to my mother because she suggested that I take one course to see if film was something I could see myself doing as future career. Once I took the course, everything hit off from there; I decided to take other film courses which were listed in the program, and successfully earned my Certificate of Digital Film Production in spring of 2015. After receiving my certificate, I finally knew what I wanted do and the career path that I want to continue on. I want to become a Director. At San José State this Fall I will be majoring in Advertising and minoring in Film Production. In the future, I have hopes of not only directing commercials, and commercials for high profile companies, such as Apple, Nissan, and Mc Donald’s to name a few, but to direct feature films, and my own films as well. The world of filmmaking is very beautiful to me: the way one or a group of individuals can think out an idea, and then finesse it to the point where it can be played on screen, and in front of a numerous amount of people.
Aside from discovering what career I wanted to pursue, I have discovered how much of a determined person I am. I have discovered that I have a fire and drive in me, so much so, that I will not give up on my dreams or goals. Yes, I am a tad bit nervous about what the future holds, or even setting foot onto my university campus in the next few weeks; but deep down I know I am not going to quit, and I know that with faith, drive, and hard work, I will be fine. Lastly, I would like to thank the EdFund for giving me the support I needed when starting off my journey as a college student at Contra Costa College. I am very thankful for the EdFund, and how being an EdFund Scholar, has made my years as a college student a little less troublesome. If you would like to view my film career journey, and my ventures onto my new campus, please feel free to visit my website at www.sakeemapayne.com, and my Instagram profile @spaynefilms. Thank you.
At first, I didn’t realize that I was going to college – it wasn’t that I was in denial, it just never occurred to me. I thought I was going to meet my high school friends soon and be with the teachers I’ve known for some time. I didn’t know what I would be leaving behind
It was only when I reached my dorm room door and noticed the swarm of people moving, unpacking, and hugging each other. My first thought was “Waow…I really am going away from a lot”, and my second was “I wonder if the food is good”. The first thought slowly became a bitter-sweet reality as my parents left my dorm room and me and my room mate at first awkwardly talked to each other and eventually became comfortable with talking about anything with. It was a trailer of what to expect – or more of an intro. The second thought quickly became false after I had lunch at the school’s dining commons and eating what I was promised was “Sweet and spicy curry and beef” turned into “sweet and spicy something surreal”, but I can live with that. I quickly became used to shaking hands with people and introducing myself to them. Additionally, I wasn’t expecting my floor to have an electro-DJ, because for the whole rest of the day when I was on the floor, all I heard was heavy bass. By the end of the night, I was already familiar with the majority of people on my floor. The following night was painfully hot – summer in San Jose isn’t meant for me. At least the DJ stopped playing.
The next day was fairly eventful. I figured out my routine on how to take showers and not touch any walls, drapes, nobs, handles, or let my clothes either. Upon arriving at the dining commons, I learned that anything is breakfast at San Jose – even “Sweet and spicy something surreal” with brown rice and broccoli. The rest of the day was mostly getting to know others and exploring. I met with people on the floor above us and quickly became part of their group. We chatted, walked around, occasionally fumbled and got lost, and even discovered a nearby restaurant that sold food at amazing prices. I can’t remember much, probably because we went to sleep at 2 in the morning the following day, but it was fun.
To conclude, San Jose isn’t bad, and I’ve finally understand that now I’m going to college.
Summer bridge at SJSU helped me make a huge transition in my life. My transition from high school to college was unnoticeable, having spent 5-weeks before any other freshman on the campus made me feel like I already was a college student. When I entered the program, my mindset was changed. I no longer wanted to rely on my parents; I saw myself as an independent student. While in summer bridge, I learned great skills one of those being how to successfully study. The leaders from summer bridge would play what we thought were games, but were actually life lessons which I can reflect on now.
My first week of school exceeded my expectations. There were mobs of students walking through dorm hallways looking for people, someone to talk to, someone to make friends with. Throughout the week, events were hosted by the RA’s so students would be able to interact and socialize with others. During these events I had the opportunity to reunite with my high school friends as well as a majority of students which I met during summer bridge.The majority of my classes I believe to be “easy,” which is not what I expected from college. My day on average consists of 3 classes which are easier than anticipated so it leaves plenty of free time . Unlike high school, you no longer have someone asking you to finish the given work. Self motivation is what helps the student complete the assignments. I have quickly picked up the skill of time management since I have found it to be much use to me. Time management plays a vital role in my day since it enables me to manage my classes, study, go to work, participate in events, and be active in programs efficiently.
One valuable piece of advice I have been given is, “Education comes before friends, relationships, and any other type of distractions, because all those things will always be there unlike your education.”
College is one step from reaching reality, but it is a big step to being independent. I have been given great opportunities I like On Our Way, Summer Bridge, and San Jose Orientation; it opened my eyes to knowing that all this is to prepare me for my college life.
The On Our Way event was very overwhelming, hearing the same information over and over, but it was very informal and I was glad that the people there were very helpful with questions that many could not have answered anywhere else. At my orientation at San Jose State, I learned so much and gave me a bigger picture of what college is going to be like. It also gave me the feeling of impatience and I was ready to get it started, but I am taking things too fast and not knowing how it is really going to be.
Now the major transition I had to deal with is Summer Bridge, to me it is an early experience of college. I am currently on my second week of this program out of five weeks and I am transitioning with it slowly. My first week, it was hard to transition and to not understand why we are put in tough situations if we have not hit college yet. As of right now I understand that this program is putting us through hard work and tough positions to prepare us when college day hits and now I know how to deal with things and how to manage my time better than before. It is also teaching me how to be independent and to motivate myself to stay on track with my assignments and get them done on my own without having to do the same ways I did in high school. It is teaching me that college is a whole different ballgame, knowing that my old high schools ways are not going to help me survive my years of college and now is the opportunity to learn and develop new techniques to get through it. With programs like these helped me get a bigger picture, especially Summer Bridge, giving me the early experience of hard work, away from home, meeting new people, and getting out of my comfort zone. It taught me to be independent and to motivate myself and motivate others are cannot do so. It taught me to create bonds with people to stay connected and there for each other which is another way to stay successful in college knowing they or myself is there when needed. With this early taste of college, I cannot wait for the real day to come and to actually go to my classes and learn and build new skills to stay on task and new ways to learn. I am also looking forward to meeting new people from completely different backgrounds and different parts of the state and maybe even other parts of the world. But I am not looking forward to final exams and finals weeks!
-Angel, SJSU, Class of 2017
Reminiscing on my first semester of college, I’m very thankful for having the right to pursue a higher education. The semester allowed me to not just grow academically but also socially. One of the many experiences that I enjoyed this semester in college is living on campus. Living on campus not only exposed me much more to the campus environment but also to my college community. I’ve made many friendships from freshmen to graduate students through this experience of living on campus. I’ve truly enjoyed it so much.
Every week there’s always new opportunities to meet others and get involved on campus. This semester I became a part of the EOP volunteer program at my school where I helped recruit high school seniors to apply to EOP and also participated in panels to answer questions that students might have with my experience with EOP. I’m also part of a peer mentoring program in my school called FE where I visit a high school senior at a local high school in San Jose every Friday morning to make sure he’s fulfilling all his college duties such as college applications, scholarship applications, etc which I’m also helping him with. I plan to continue these programs for the spring semester and future semesters.
Looking towards the spring semester I’m going to be working at my school’s student store which will allow me to not only gain job experience but also meet more people that maybe don’t live on campus. Academically I plan to take more advantage of the many tutoring services that’s provided at my school especially since I’m going to be taking more challenging courses such as calculus and chemistry. Also, I will take more advantage of the office hours of my professors if problems in my classes were to arise. If I had the opportunity to speak to myself back in August 2011, I would tell myself to really strive for the grades that I’m capable of getting and to not just settle for a B when I can achieve higher than that. Also I would tell myself to get involved with just one program on campus because it’s very time consuming and most of my time should be dedicated to my courses.
– Edgar, San Jose State ’15
My first semester in college was exciting yet challenging. I had to get used to a new environment starting by living on my own. This gave me a sense of independence, but at first it was hard to get use to. When I first moved in to my dorm, I was a bit scared because I knew that I was going to be on my own, and my parents where no longer going to be there with me. It took me a while to get use to it but I got through it. Although it was hard to get use to living on my own, I really liked the sense of independence and the feeling of doing things on my own. I really liked all my classes, although I did have two remedial classes, they helped be strengthen my writing and math skills. Throughout my first semester I was taking a child development class which required a service learning project. I decided to get involved in the Child Development Center in San Jose State and this experience was great.
Next semester I will give myself more time. Ever since I started college, time seems to go by extremely fast and I need more of it. I will learn how to manage my time more wisely and dedicate each minute to my academics. Socially, I will make more effort to make more friendships. I went in to college already knowing a couple of people, but for next semester I would like to expand my friendships. If I had the chance to speak to myself back in August, I would tell myself that confidence is everything. When I first started, my confidence wasn’t at the level I wanted it to be, but then I took a public speaking class and this helped me build my confidence. Now my confidence is where I want it to be and I know that as I continue my college years it will continue to increase.
– Alejandra, San Jose State ’15
During the summer to prepare for college, I attended my orientation which is where I had the opportunity to register for my classes, familiarize myself with San Jose State and my freshmen class. Before the summer orientation, I was nervous and excited about starting college in the fall. During my orientation, I had the opportunity to meet the faculty, staff, upperclassmen, freshmen and experienced a tour of the whole campus. I gained knowledge about the wonderful services that the school’s programs provide such as EOP. EOP provides tutoring services, advising, volunteer opportunities, and many more.
After attending orientation, I felt more than prepared to begin my college education at San Jose State and also motivated to get involved with the campus community. This semester I am looking forward to meeting new people and create lifelong friendships. I’d like to make friends who will support me not only in college, but in my life following graduation.
I am looking forward to pushing myself to earn the best grades possible because in high school I settled for only passing my classes. I now have a second chance to earn excellent grades in school. I am looking forward to getting actively involved with my school, and I’m debating whether or not I should join a fraternity. I definitely want to volunteer as much as I can with student organizations. From orientation, I was told that EOP provides countless volunteering opportunities for its students so I’m definitely going to look into that more as the semester progresses.
– Edgar, SJSU ’15
Transitioning to college has made me realize how a person starts becoming independent. I am now two months into college, living on campus and realizing that a new transition to a new environment can be very challenging.
At first when I started to get settled in it was a week before school started. All I focused on during that week was meeting new people and trying to figure out what kind of paperwork I needed to turn in regarding my remedial classes. As a remedial student and part of the EOP program I am required to attend tutoring for 90 minutes per remedial class. I am currently taking two remedial classes which are English and Math. I was a bit ashamed at first because “remedial” to me sounds like someone that doesn’t know or understands a concept. However, I noticed that the majority of freshman students here at San José State take remedial classes. I did not feel alone or ashamed once I started taking the courses.
The first week of school began, and right away when I entered I knew that the teacher meant business. The very first day we only went through the syllabus or what they call the green sheet, and I started to notice that everything was going to be fast-paced. This made me realize that college is nothing compared to high school. After the first week is when I started to feel the pressure. Essays were due the next day of class as well as any other homework that was given. As of today, I have been through two midterms and they were intense. I put all my hard work and I studied numerous hours and felt pretty confident on some of the midterms.
Overall, I am still getting adjusted to the face-paced life of college. I have learned how to value my time because it goes by very quickly when I am studying. College by far has been a great experience I have learned valuable multi-tasking and time-management skills.
– Alejandra, SJSU ’15