Student Success Coach (Outreach)
"I always encourage students to join support programs; it is crucial to have a support system while in college and to take advantage of the experiences/resources they have to offer. I am grateful for my EOPS counselor and the opportunities I had while in the program, such as being able to attend a college campus road trip and winning a scholarship."
Early Life and the Importance of Education
The importance of education was always instilled in me growing up. My mom encouraged me to pursue my dreams and always supported me.
Despite having a positive outlook on the value of education growing up, I faced difficult times with my family. In the upheaval of losing our home, facing homelessness, and seeing my parents struggle mentally and emotionally while trying to keep us afloat…the thought of going to college was not important anymore.
It was difficult to have to balance school and life and throughout my high school years, I worried a lot which caused me to have anxiety. My high school didn’t really have any support programs or college access programs to help me through it. Mental health wasn’t really talked about much either at the time.
The Support of the EOPS Program
After graduation, I decided to enroll into community college (not Mission College). I ended up dropping out my first year due to personal issues and not feeling that I had enough support to keep plodding through. Summer 2016 - I enrolled into Mission College and took an Early Child Development class. Instantly, I felt the sense of belonging and support through my professor and my classmates. I was actually excited to go to college. I still faced challenges during my time at Mission College.
I went to school full time but also had to work full time in order to pay my bills and survive. I was living away from my family and had to support myself from the age of 18.
I became homeless again at one point and struggled to find secure housing. My mental health still wasn’t at its best, and I was too ashamed to ask for help. I had no idea of the resources on campus and didn’t make many friends because for a while, I just went to class and left right after to go to work.
Despite all this, I also reflect on the good times I had, like receiving an "A" in my statistics class (math was not my strong suit!) and discovering EOPS which gave me many opportunities and support.
I always encourage students to join support programs; it is crucial to have a support system while in college and to take advantage of the experiences/resources they have to offer.
I am grateful for my EOPS counselor and the opportunities I had while in the program, such as being able to attend a college campus road trip and winning a scholarship.
Transferring to UC Riverside
The endless support I received led me to transferring to UC Riverside where I completed my bachelor's degree in Sociology. It took me four years from community college to transfer, but I don’t regret taking that long! I needed time to figure out what I wanted to do, and I needed to work.
After graduating, I found myself back at Mission College where I now work as a Success Coach in the Outreach department. I find myself reflecting back on the time I spent here and how much it changed my life. I am reminded of my struggles, but also how much I have accomplished to be where I am today. Without the support of my counselors and mentors, I don’t know how I would have made it.
My advice to students is to get involved, whether that is with a support program, job on campus, clubs, or volunteer work. Building community with those who have similar interests and goals will help you as a student to accomplish them and stay focused. There are many benefits to being a part of something, and I wish someone would have told me that sooner.
There is also no need to rush. There is no specific timeline to one’s educational journey so do not feel pressured to finish in two years. Things change and situations come up, it is OKAY. Lastly, your mental health MATTERS. Do not ignore it. It is important to take care of yourself before anything else because it affects every other aspect of our life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, seek counseling, or take a day off for self-care.
I am going to end this with a quote.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” - Eleanor Roosevelt