Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Note from Penn

Sorry for the late response, things have been getting busier with midterms and papers as there are only about 3 weeks left of class until reading days and finals.

I can't really believe that I'll be finishing up my first year at college, especially at a school like Penn. My summer's pretty open right now, so I'll probably see if I can find a job.

Next year as a sophomore I'll be taking: Spanish, Chemistry, Statistics, Psychology, and some sort of History class. I've already registered for these classes and schedules for Fall 2011 semester come out in about two weeks. My housing situation is all set, and I'll be living in the high rises next semester with some friends.

I hope you're doing well. Thanks!

Cristina Pelayo

Monday, April 4, 2011

Some Thoughts from Texas

I am currently a 2nd semester sophomore at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. I am pursing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. I take anywhere from 13- 16 hours of class per semester. I have a work-study position at my school’s information desk where I am responsible for the book keeping and processing the reservations for anyone who wishes to reserve conference rooms on campus. I began working here freshman year and quickly got promoted twice which led me to my current position as a student manager. I typically work 15 hours per week on a Monday-Friday basis.

I am part of the National Society of Leadership & Success (Sigma Alpha Pi). This is a non-Greek organization that promotes leadership skills and action plan creation in order to achieve goals (small or large). I am not only a member but also an officer who plans out where our events will take place. We watch renowned speakers on live broadcast whom we can text message questions to. We learn about financial responsibility, time management, the power of influence and many more topics not discussed in college classes. We are held accountable for the goals we set and we achieve them. The goal I created last spring was to obtain my drivers license and buy a car. In the summer of 2010 I was licensed and driving a bright blue Honda Civic. I truly owe part of this success to this organization. Look for a chapter your campus. ( )

My university’s liberal art program allows me to take either core or classes in my major at any time that I choose to do so, where at other schools you must take many pre requisites that you aren’t even interested in. I have requirements in the English, Math, Science, Social Studies arena, but I get to choose which classes I fill those with. For example I don’t want to take any government, econ, or history classes, so I am filling my social science requirement with Criminal Justice, Sociology and Business.

The best part: my largest class had 25 students in it. This made it easy to ask questions, see the professor for office hours and to get to know classmates for both friendship and networking purposes. I am currently taking a class that teaches about what careers in psychology exist and the requirements to obtain a career in that field.

I plan on going to graduate school after I graduate from St. Mary’s in the spring of 2013. I will work towards a PhD in Industrial/ Organizational psychology. Industrial/Organizational Psychology deals with the relationships of the employees in a company, the improvement of future job candidate selection, creating programs and activities that to enhance the company and research. I am looking to obtain a career in this area of psychology and in the future look into becoming a college professor where I can do research and make discoveries all while sharing my knowledge with students.

I don’t have a set idea on which city or state I will go on to graduate school in, but I’m sure that with an open mind & continued support from my parents will lead me in a perfect Graduate school fit, just as I found St. Mary’s. This university provides thousands of opportunities for advancement, has a tight knit community feel to it, job fairs, research symposiums and more than I can ever say.

So when picking your future university asks yourself many times if the person you are will fit in well in the setting you will choose. Please, consider private schools as an option because they are smaller in size and have abundance in financial aid which could cost less than attending a public school. When you need a recommendation letter for a job or graduate school it will be more likely that your professor knows you better and has more to say about you, than if you attend a large public school where he or she might know your name at most.

This semester I am going to become more involved in psychology courses, new organizations and begin research.

Wendy Espinoza
Pinole Valley High School
Class of 2009

St. Mary's University
Class of 2013

Reflections from an Engineering Major


Well since Rosa Garibo went over some of the information about SCU, I will just talk a little bit more about this past quarter. I took four classes and one lab; Math 12 (Calculus), Physics 31, Mech 10 with Lab (Mechanical Engineering class that Civil Engineers also require), and my C&I (Cultures and Ideas: Ideas in a Changing World) which is a class we are required to take for 2 quarters.

I was very excited to finally take an engineering class, but I was definitely not excited about physics which was without a doubt the hardest class this quarter for me. My GPA has not been great because I feel like I am still adjusting to college. Yesterday I was glad to see I had not failed physics. I went from getting upset whenever I did not get an A in high school to feeling relieved with a C-. For an engineer, falling behind just one class could really hurt you. We only get one elective our 4 years, basically our 4 years are planned out for us without having much space to take "fun" classes. What I was afraid of was failing physics and not being able to take 32 and 33 this Spring and Fall quarter, which would mean I would have to take summer classes (which is unfortunately $2,000 per class) or overload. I am currently waiting on the rest of my grades.

I will talk a little more about how engineers go about registering for classes. Since I did not receive credit for AP classes, I am one of the last to register. I am a freshman engineer without AP credits nor the best GPA, so these past two quarters I've had my appointment the last day of registration. It's stressful to see the classes with the best professors and hours fill up. Most of the professors here are very nice and are excellent at teaching, but as in every other college, there are exceptions. This is why if the upcoming freshmen have AP credits, they should make sure the colleges receive the scores. As you progress, the engineering classes get smaller and smaller according to the different branches students decide to follow: Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, and Bio.

If you decide to go as undeclared, it is best if you declare what engineer you want to be as soon as possible to make sure there is space for you in the required classes. Make friends with other engineers! You WILL need help in homework or simply trying to borrow a book. It is going to be tough to get used to the quarter system. We have 3 final weeks, most classes having 2 midterms per quarter without counting projects or essays. Without you know it, you are already halfway through the quarter and have to start preparing for finals.

Even though schoolwork takes the majority of your time, there is always time to hang out with friends, or go to the parties nearby. The campus is pretty small, but that does not mean there is nothing fun going on around. Basketball games get filled with the Ruff Riders cheering for the team, Baseball season just started two weeks ago, and dances go on every quarter.

I am not sure if I had mentioned this in a previous email but the building I live in is a suite-style. It has 4 singles and 1 double with 2 bathrooms. Fortunately, I got paired up with a girl that does not mind me having people around. Not everyone has that luck.

SCU is an expensive university, and does not always give out the best financial aid package throughout the 4 years. I plan on doing work-study next year to help out my parents since I did not apply for any scholarships this year. But I have talked to many that had not thought of SCU as their first choice until they saw their financial aid.

Overall, I love SCU. It is crazy to look back and see I am just 10 weeks away from finishing my freshman year. Again, if anyone wants to go visit the campus or even stay overnight I will gladly give them a tour and have them stay in my suite. It would be nice to have more people from our district attending SCU next year.

Enjoy your last months in high school and be sure that college will be 10 times better!

Jocelyn Barragan

From a Santa Clara Bronco

Hello Mr. Ramsey and Ms.Kronenberg ,

The quarter just ended and so far I got an A in my Finite Math class and I'm still waiting for grades on my other 3 classes. Winter quarter I was taking Psychology 1 and 2 which are basics for the Psychology major. I was also taking the first of 3 required religion classes, which I'm certain I received an A in. What can I tell you? As I have said before, Santa Clara U. has been great. The key is to stay focused in classes. Sure there will be distractions, but our goal is to manage academics and the many distractions that we have on campus.

In regards to classes and the registration process each quarter I can say it's not the most fun or easy part of college. Up until this point I have always had trouble getting all the classes I want. Somehow one class always interferes with other classes I want and need to take. For example, as I was registering for Spring quarter classes, I wanted to get my second religion class out of the way and get it done, but my required Psyc 40 class didn't allow me to do so. The times interfered. Also, some classes get filled up quickly. The registration period goes according to class and also GPA. So we have to keep those grades up if we want to register early. Really quickly, there's also the program LEAD which allows students to register before anyone else in their class (sometimes even before other classes). Next quarter I will be taking Psyc 40, Ethnic Studies 125- Latinos and Latinas in the U.S. (similar to Chicano Studies), Math 8- Intro to Statistics, and Psyc 115- Abnormal Psyc (this is an upper division class). I decided to take the upper division Psyc class because I couldn't register for any other Core Requirement classes. The Ethnics class is taught by a great person who gave life to the Ethnics program at SCU. Professor Chacon is well known all over Santa Clara University and you must take a class with him if you want the FULL experience as a Latino at Santa Clara U. I want to have that full experience. Plus, he's engages students in class and the topics that he covers are very interesting, so I've heard.

Student life can get complicated if you want it to be. For the past 2 weeks I had to deal with my new roommate's boyfriend staying over. I didn't really spend time in my room for that reason, and also because I was busy with my academics. On the other hand, I know that because of her boyfriend, my current roommate Celene had to ask for a room change because her old roommate was not comfortable with her partner being there for such a long time. When you're in college, there's no parents to tell you who can spend the night over, but you do have to be considerate with your roommate in the case that you do have one and ask them if they will be okay with someone else sleeping in the room. Remember that you do share a room, and the other person might not feel comfortable. Always set ground rules. It will be helpful. And whenever you don't feel comfortable with a situation, always talk to your roommate about it.

Culture at Santa Clara is relatively diverse. Usually Latinos keep to themselves, and SCU is trying to have more diversity in activities that happen within residence halls or outside as a community. When you get to your campus, the best thing to do is know the different cultures that comprise your class. Meet other students, introduce yourself to them and become acquaintances or friends. Get to know what their cultures are about so that you know how to be respectful to them. This could come in handy in the future if your employer's culture is the same. Networking is essential in college. You have to look over some flaws that might bother you about a person, and think long-term.

Finances are always tough at SCU. Try to get small loans, if you do get them or no loans at all. Immediately apply for on-campus jobs if you need to. Currently I work for Bronco Students Services. Winter quarter I was working only 2 nights per week, 4-5 hours per night at an hourly wage of 10 dollars. I worked as manager of the online delivery service of BSS. My function is to get the online food orders ready to be delivered to students' rooms. It might seem like it's relatively easy, but it's stressful sometimes to have all the responsibility for the night. So far SCU has been great with finances. The financial aid packages I've gotten the past two years have been good. Make sure to apply for financial aid as early as possible! This helps you get a good amount of financial aid. This year I submitted my FAFSA earlier than the past two years. I just need to send in the corrected version with my parents' taxes information. Stay on top of everything!

I hope that this is helpful information to those students who are going to college this year or are interested in Santa Clara University. Everything will be new, but try to go with the flow and stay focused. Don't stress too much. Have fun and enjoy your college experience!

I'm proud to be a BRONCO, and hopefully we have more WCCUSD students attend SCU! It's an amazing university!

Best regards to you Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg,

Ana Garibo
Santa Clara University