Student’s academic journey leads to success

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I remember driving into the parking lot the first day of the fall semester at California State University, Fullerton in August of 2004. It was a warm day and I had the windows down in my 2003 white Chevy S-10 Xtreme. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, an album by My Chemical Romance was playing through my speakers as I looked for a space.

I was a green college freshman glistening with ignorance.

It didn’t take long for me to become overwhelmed and bored. I ended up on academic probation.

My second semester was not much better and I soon dropped out.

I felt like such a failure, but I was determined to go back to school.

A year later, I enrolled at El Camino.

It felt good to be back in school, but that didn’t last very long. Once again, I was overwhelmed and bored.

I was frustrated with myself.

Grade school was a breeze for me. Why was I having such a hard time in college?

I didn’t share my feelings or struggles with anyone at the time.

My friends knew exactly what they wanted to do and they were on track in school. I, on the other hand, had no idea what I wanted my career to be and I simply had no direction. I dropped out. Again.

I was embarrassed and ashamed. I had failed. Again.

I decided a drastic move was what I needed. So, in August of 2007, I packed my 1998 navy blue Volkswagen Jetta and I drove to Utah.

I enrolled in school in Salt Lake City, got few roommates, and a full time job.

Unfortunately, my workload became too much for me to keep up with. I had no choice but to leave school, and continue working in order to support myself.

I was a college drop-out. Again.

I was ashamed. I had failed. Again.

It was always my goal to go back to school, but as the years passed, school was put on the back burner.

I can’t help but feel like I wasted a lot of time lollygagging in my twenties in SLC. But I had a lot of demons I was wrestling with.

I wasn’t confident. I lacked inspiration and drive. I lacked purpose.

I had to make a positive move, and fast.

I decided to start pursuing my dream of becoming a journalist.

I had always wanted to be a sports reporter like my idol Craig Sager.

I landed an internship with a local sports radio network and that internship led to another internship which led to a part-time job.

In time, it was evident that I needed to go back to school in order to further pursue my career goals.

By this time I was married, and coincidentally my husbands job transferred him to Los Angeles, my hometown, in the fall of 2017.

I was applying to jobs like my life depended on it. Months went by and I had no call backs. That really discouraged me.

I felt ashamed. I felt I had failed. Again.

I was down. I felt sorry for myself for a bit, but then I rallied for my future and I got back up.

I found myself back at El Camino in the spring of 2018. I was determined to finish my journalism degree.

My first semester back I excelled immediately. By the end of the semester I had won an award for Best Newspaper Feature for my story on softball player Diamond Lewis.

Since then I have won more awards and written multiple published articles.

As much as I would love to say this time, “I’ve finally got it. I don’t doubt myself anymore. I am confident I can be an accomplished journalist,” that’s not my reality.

I still have moments of doubt. I still am fearful of failure. Sometimes I don’t feel like I am good enough and I have to wrestle with these thoughts and feeling daily.

Earlier this semester I almost fell back in to my old pattern of letting personal matters affect all aspects of my life, and essentially giving up.

I had to pull myself out of it. I am graduating this semester. I have come too far to give up this time. I can and I will.

The difference between then and now is now I believe in myself more. Now I have a solid support system. Now I am building my confidence in myself as a writer and reporter. Now I am practicing patience with myself and self love. Now I am excited to put myself out there. Now, I know that I am capable and deserving of being happy and accomplishing my goals.

My road to EC and back again has been a bumpy one, but I am happy to have been strong enough and brave enough to fight for dream. I like to say that I am a late bloomer, and I am grateful that my time at EC has allowed me to grow and blossom at my pace.

I may be slower than some, but I am a fighter nonetheless. Once a warrior, always a warrior.

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