Study Hours: Lost in the sea of college life

Destiny Ortiz

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Starting school a semester later than my classmates from high school wasn’t my ideal way to begin college. But being only one of the second generation in my family who did go to college put a lot of pressure on graduating from college in a timely manner.

I didn’t know who I could turn to when I finally figured out that the best option for me was to go to San Diego City College. I vaguely remember browsing the college website and typing “how to enroll” into the search engine and when I clicked that button that is where it all started.

I went to the orientation and arrived 10 minutes late because I couldn’t find the classroom it was being held in.

I had to take the math and English assessment tests to create an education plan. I scored low on the math assessment due to forgetting basic math after doing two years of calculus in high school but I received a decent score on the English assessment and could have started at the college level of English. However, instead of immediately starting at the college level, I enrolled in two prerequisite classes required for the college level English.

When I went to see the counselor, the first question I was asked was what I was going to major in. At the time, I was a kid fresh out of high school and the last thing I knew was what I wanted to pursue as a career.

The counselor suggested to start with the prerequisites I could have avoided taking and some general education requirements. The personal growth class I enrolled in had a requirement at the end of the semester as part of the final to decide what to major in; it took the whole semester for me to realize how unrealistic that was to accomplish.

When I did seek help from outside sources, it was from the few family members that went to four-year colleges. They had no clue on how the community college system worked so I made several appointments at the counseling center but unfortunately received different information on what I needed to do on every visit.

After completing the prerequisites, it was time to decide on what to do next for the education plan that would guide me to graduation. On one of the visits to the counseling center it was made known how important it was to decide what major was right for me and after taking tests that were based on what kind of careers would fit my personality, I decided to major in human biology to become an obstetrician.

I blindly took classes I believed would get me closer to what I wanted to become but instead drove me further away from what I planned to do when I first got to college: graduate knowing what I wanted to do.

It was towards the end of my first year of college when I found a flier that was trampled and ripped on the ground that provided me the help I desperately needed. The program was for students who were experiencing their first year of college and provided services for tutoring, personalized counselors, and peer mentoring. Had I known this program existed, I felt I would have been better prepared for what to expect from college.

For students who experience the overwhelming feeling of being lost and not knowing where to go, there should be better ways of communication other than picking up a discarded flier off the ground to guide students in the right direction.

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