College: Chaffey College
Major: Criminal Justice
What was life like growing up?
My family was always hurting financially. We moved four times while I was growing up. When my parents separated, my mother, brother, and I were on the brink of homelessness. Fortunately, we were able to stay with a friend of my mother’s, sharing a single bedroom during my junior year of high school. Eventually we were able to resettle with my older sister and her husband during my senior year.
How did you settle on attending California Baptist University (CBU) and what was the transition like?
My family has always been supportive of my dream to attend college and hopefully pull the family out of poverty. Full of confidence and excitement, I felt like CBU was perfect fit – a private university that practiced Christian values. It would be free of distractions and provide me the emotional heeling I needed, while I pursued my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
I have always enjoyed learning and having taken a heavy load of AP courses during my senior year did a lot toward preparing me for the academic expectations at CBU. Having moved so frequently while growing up taught me how to quickly adapt to new environments and CBU was no different. One area I definitely struggled with was managing work and school. There were many times that I had to stay up late to finish assignments because I was trying to work as many hours as I could. I always felt the pressure to perfectly manage my time to get it all done.
It sounds like CBU was the ideal school, so that begs the question, why did you decide to transfer out?
I loved everything about CBU, but one day in the middle of my spring semester I sat down and did the math on the amount of debt I would graduate with if I stayed at CBU. That sum came up to $40,000. This figure disturbed me tremendously – I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A few days later I found myself in tears because I didn’t have any other options. Thankfully I turned to the Dell Scholars team and they were able to help me put together a plan that would reduce my debt, but still lead me toward my dream of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
So what came next? How did you end up at Chaffey College and how have you managed that process?
The first thing I did was accept that I needed to leave CBU because if I stayed I know I would have been so stressed about the debt that eventually my grades would have suffered. This allowed me to enjoy my final semester at CBU, while also keeping my grades up. In working with the Dell Scholars team, we created a plan whereby I would attend Chaffey College (a community college in Rancho Cucamonga) for one year and then transfer to California State University, San Bernardino. Thanks to the Dell Scholars team, the process of transferring was not stressful. They helped to create a checklist that I worked through during my spring semester. This including applying for FAFSA, obtaining my transcripts, transferring my AP scores and applying for summer courses at Chaffey. The counselors at Chaffey have also helped me structure my academic plan for the next year.
Now that you are at Chaffey, how are you staying on track to meet your goal of graduating in four year?
I’ve built my year at Chaffey around CSU-San Bernardino’s criminal justice requirements. This has meant taking mostly general ed courses so that once I transfer to San Bernardino I’ll be taking mostly criminal justice courses. After graduating I hope to become a police or parole officer. The reason is because I seek to aid those who need assistance as well as protect and serve humanity. I know I might not be the change in the world, but I do hope to be the change in a community. The idea that I may one day work for the United States is a great honor and I know my parents would be proud of me for the sacrifices they have made for my siblings and me.
Wow your determination is impressive – you have wisdom well beyond your years. Beyond academics, what else have you enjoyed about college thus far?
It would have to be all the connections I have been able to make at CBU. I must say, the food was always one of my favorite parts of the day too – nothing wrong with choosing between eating at a buffet or eating Chik-fil-a.
What about a hobby or something you do for fun?
I played football in high school and ever since, working out has always been something I enjoyed. I also love to play video games, one of my favorites would have to be Assassin’s Creed – I love that it incorporates human history. Lastly I love going to music festivals. Music puts me in such a good mood and relieves all the daily stress, plus you get to dance away all the bad vibes.
Finally, how about some advice for your fellow Scholars?
Manage your time efficiently and I promise college will be easier. Also, always talk to the Dell Scholars team – they will put you on check and will give you information you need to succeed.