Graduation is a time for celebration. It is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. An academic journey reaching its end so that a new chapter can begin. Though it is a time to celebrate, it can also be a time of mourning as well. Transitioning out of a phase of life that you have been in for years and become accustomed to can be scary, and often comes with a new set of challenges. We had a chance to interview an alumni of Neighborhood Homework House about her college experience, and also to hear about how Neighborhood Homework House had an impact on her life. The alumni’s name is Abigail, and she graduated from California Lutheran University on May 18, 2019 with a double major in Spanish and Business Administration, with an emphasis on management.
One of the questions that college-graduates always get asked is, so what are you doing after you graduate? And Abigail already has a clear idea of the direction that she is intending to go in now that she has finished her undergraduate career. Abigail hopes to go into healthcare or the non-profit sector for 1-2 years, and then apply to graduate school at Azusa Pacific University to get her MBA. Although college can be a fun time full of learning, growth, and making new friendships, it can also be a difficult time and each student has unique trials to endure. Sometimes when a person is entering into a new environment, they do not always feel that they belong, and they struggle to figure out how their story can exist in a certain place. This was the case with Abigail when she first started attending California Lutheran University. She said that as a minority on campus, it was hard for her to find Hispanic friends at first, and she felt pressured to fit in on campus. Fortunately, after a year, she was able to stop caring about those pressures and just be herself--which allowed her more time to figure out what she wanted to do and the things that make her happy.
When we asked her if she had any advice for herself on her high school graduation day, she said she would say to stop worrying so much about college and the future, as those things will work themselves out when the time comes. When students are in college, many times they get involved with extracurricular activities, and Abigail was no exception. On top of working two jobs, Abigail was the vice president of a club called Prospanica, the Marketing Manager of the Student Philanthropy Council, she was a member of Phi Beta Lambda (Future Business Leaders of America), PIHRA (Professionals in Human Resources) and finally she was the Co-Head of Recruitment for her campus Chapter at Cal Lutheran.
While completing undergrad, some students live on campus and others commute, college experiences can be very different depending on how a person’s unique living situation is. Abigail lived on campus all four years and said it was a great experience, expressing that living on campus allowed her to be more immersed in campus culture and helped her become more independent. In wrapping up our interview with Abigail, we asked her if there was any part of attending Neighborhood Homework House when she was younger that helped prepare her for the future. Abigail responded with the following statement:
During my time as a student at Neighborhood Homework House, the part that helped me prepare was when APU students came over to mentor us and talked to us about school as well as just learning about college whenever we had time. It helped because it helped me have a clearer idea of what college is all about, it's more than just studying to get a degree.
We hope you enjoyed getting a small glimpse into Abigail’s life story. She is just one example of a person, like so many out there, who had a dream to receive higher education and was able to pursue her academic goals--thanks to her own determination and work ethic, and also with a little help from people who truly care.