Five Minutes with Andrea

College: Loma Linda University
Major: Communications Disorders
Year: Junior

What was life like growing up? Tell us about your journey to college. 
My parents always taught me that no matter where I come from I must always take any opportunity for an education. Growing up in Rialto (in San Bernardino County, Calif.) was amazing, I took advantage of all the counselor and teacher services in high school. But I’d be the first to say that my college journey has definitely been a roller coaster.

Roller coaster in what way?
After my first year at the University of California-Riverside (UCR), I was dismissed. A lot of people told me to take a break and that I wasn’t ready to give my education the time it needed. But I knew that if I took a break it would become indefinite, so I immediately rushed to call my surrounding community colleges. I chose San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) because they were patient and always answered my calls and most of all were direct with me on what was possible.

When I started at SBVC I felt like such a failure because I had gone from a four year to a community college, but the counselors and teachers allowed me to have an academic experience which was much more meaningful than what I had at UCR.

What was it about UCR that didn’t work?
I have come to learn that it was not UCR’s fault that I failed. I used to blame the school and the large classrooms, but the reason why I never succeeded was because it wasn’t the right fit for me. I never found the motivation to attend office hours or sought out the extra help I needed. It wasn’t until I was at SBVC that I learned the importance of study groups and how to be productive with my time.

Once you settled in at SBVC, did you always know you wanted to transfer back to a four-year university?
My whole life I knew I wanted to graduate from a four-year university. Anything less was never an option for me. I remained motivated at SBVC because I was determined to prove to others and myself what I was capable of. It was a struggle to work 35 hours plus take 13 units, but I made it work. I was at my counselor and transfer advisor’s office at least once a month during my second year.

Now that you are at Loma Linda University, what was your transfer like and how did you adjust to your new home?
Starting at Loma Linda was scary. I felt that a lot of people treated me as if I were fragile or if I wasn’t going to be able to handle the work or rigor. Looking back on my entire journey, I think it is because of my struggles at UCR that I am doing so well at Loma Linda now. I understand just how much I can accomplish if I have the right passion. And now that I am pursuing a degree in speech pathology (I had been a biology major at UCR) I can really feel my passion flourishing.

That is so great to hear! Speaking of passion, what do you love most about Loma Linda?
I would have to say it is my friends and the study groups and the lunch dates. Feeling like I belong in a group has really helped my grades. I now feel like I have an emotional support system of people who have the same struggles. Having two jobs, community service, and being a full-time student leaves me with very little free time – so having a group of friends has really made such a huge difference in my life.

We can attest, friends are so important to finding success in college. Now to our customary final question, what is some advice you have for your fellow Scholars?
Something I wish someone would have told me was that no matter how much you plan, nothing is set in life. We grow up thinking adulthood is going to be amazing and that it will all be easier to figure out, but no. As adults we have every right to have doubts or feel weakness. It’s those moments that shape us into who will we become. In terms of college, it’s okay to admit that it’s expensive, hard, frustrating, even painful – it’s going to be an experience (one that I think is worth it).