I’m going on my 3rd (and last full year) of college. The past two years of being a college student have taught me a lot. My first year of college I struggled to balance having fun, academics and had a whole lotta culture shock. I was also homesick, which was something I didn’t expect. I went from being a small town girl to living in one of the most diverse and enriching cities in America, San Francisco. I often questioned whether this was the right move for me. I’m a huge daddy’s girl and to be honest I’ve always had it easy and never had to worry about being independent, so being all alone in the city TERRIFIED me. There was a point where I almost wanted to call it quits and just go to a college back home. I wasn’t happy. Yet, I felt so selfish that I had an opportunity my parents never had and that many people would want. I knew deep down that I could not bear disappointing my parents and that I had to push through for them. My dad works so hard to make sure I have everything I need and more so this would be the least I could do. I talked about how I was feeling with my parents and boyfriend. They were so understanding and gave me an abundance of support and love. I prayed for guidance and ultimately I got it.
By the start of my 2nd semester, I was determined to make the best of it and take advantage of everything the campus had. BEST CHOICE EVER.
I applied to my first paid internship at the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (I.C.C.E) and became the first freshmen fellow!! My cohort was amazing and I met people who really influenced me. As a fellow, I was doing a lot of community service within the campus and SF. This opportunity opened so many doors for me. I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Dream Resource Community on campus and helped push towards opening the first center on campus EVER. (And WE DID IT!!) Here I learned about the many resources undocumented students have and how to support families/students without citizenship. Keep in mind, that this was during a very difficult election cycle. I also volunteered at the Legal Center which gave me an insight into law policies and I got to meet people who had the same passions/goals as I did. I no longer just had support back home, but I also had fellow peers to reach out to. Even with my grades and academics in line, I still felt like I was missing something. Back home I had my friend group who I could count on for anything, and I did not have that here. This is when I decided to join a sorority and yeah I know everyone says this but I swear it was the best decision I’ve made in college.
Being in my sorority gave me LIFE. I met girls who were literally just like me and loved to do all the girly shit I do, which is what I needed. I met my best friends. My social life did a complete 360. There were events every day, meetings, and gatherings on the weekends that were nothing like the ones back home. Lol. I had finally found the missing piece to my puzzle. I finished my 1st year of college feeling so happy and content. I fell in love with San Francisco. I knew that my life would only get better.
AND IT DID.
2nd year of college was the year of GROWTH. First of all, I got to live on my own w/ 2 roomies. No more dorms or dining hall food. I had my own house, kitchen, and all that other stuff. 30 Arellano baby!! A house to remember for sure. SO many memories good & bad lie in that house. I also pursued an internship at the A.S Women’s Center, where I met and worked alongside strong, independent women. Our work consisted of hosting forums on various topics, tabling, office hours, and advocating for all services at Planned Parenthood. On top of this, I was also taking a heavy coursework and involved in other organizations. Fall semester did me well socially and academically. I was having fun and doing well in school, but my health was not doing so great. For the past 2 years, I became very aware of GMO’s and artificially flavored foods. I was on top of my game when it came to eating healthy, but with all my responsibilities and tight schedule I became lazy. I started eating out more or not eating at all. My weight was always going up and down and I became self-conscious about it. My self-esteem reached a low point.
The holidays did not make it any better. I kept looking back at old pictures when I was feeling my best. I finally decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and actually do something about it. I always had a thing for running, so I slowly got back to it. However, I found myself not only wanting to get skinnier but also stronger. All my life I had this image of “skinny” I wanted, but I was over it. I wanted to embrace my curves and be body positive with what I got. This was not easy. The new gym we had at school had so much to offer I felt overwhelmed. And the thought of being a newbie to weightlifting was always in the back of my head. I felt embarrassed/intimidated being around all these guys who literally stare to see what you’re doing and girls too. I didn’t even have a gym buddy at the time because I wanted to do it on my own. I followed fitness Instagrams and YouTuber’s who actually gave really good advice for beginners like myself. I started going to group classes where we did the basics and worked ourselves up. I even became brave enough to try a soul-cycling class. (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!) My fitness game went from a 0 to a solid 7. Lol. And it wasn’t perfect. There were days where I got upset for not seeing results or where I just felt like not going. I also did not have a good diet… which is probably why I didn’t see quick results (I know it was wrong now)
My spring semester was a turning point. I stopped going out every weekend, got my sleeping schedule together, and was REALLY working on myself. My coursework was also super stressful, so it got me to stay in more too. I vowed not to let myself go and decided to step outside my comfort zone by getting a personal trainer. Even with my busy schedule, I’d make sure to squeeze in time. Around this time is also around the time I discovered I could graduate early! I was so happy that my hard work was paying off, but I knew that in order to reach my fullest potential I had to push myself even more.
So, I applied to 3 prestigious law internships. Never would I imagine myself applying to programs like these, but I mean why not? I want to do hands-on work within communities of need and this would be perfect. The process for them was quite a lot. Between the application, essay’s, extra requirements, and interviews I became a finalist to all 3. Long story short, I did not get chosen for my top choice but DID get a spot for the other two. While this was all happening, I was also taking two Education classes. One that focused on Education policies and another on teaching in a diverse classroom. Needless to say, I fell in love with Education. I mean even I was shocked. All my life I had my eyes set on law school and now I found myself Googling GSE.
After thinking it through, I realized I wanted to pursue Education. Teaching? Education Policy? I don’t know. I just know I want to make a REAL impact on the lives of Black and Brown students who face disadvantages in a system that is supposed to support them. (This rant will be a whole other post because I have A LOT to say on this.) When I made this decision I turned down both law internships. I now had no plans for the summer, but I was ok with that. Instead, I applied to be an AVID high school teacher aid in SFUSD and I got it! The process was a little long, but definitely going to be worth it. I also applied to be an English/Writing tutor on campus and got it! I am excited for both of these opportunities because I really have a passion for it and will help me grow.
On top of all this, I got elected into one of the positions for the Political Science Association and will be coordinating/planning forums, programs, and events for all things Political Science at SFSU. Not to mention I will be taking 17 units. Fall 2018 will be a SUPER busy semester for sure, but I cannot wait! This will be my last full year and I want to take advantage of as many things as I can.
Failing, learning, and growing. This is what my college years have been about so far.