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Redlands East Valley alumni offer advice they wish they had known before going into college

By MIRIAM YORDANOS

Waiting in anticipation for a college acceptance letter to choosing how to take the Advanced Placement exams, many seniors can feel overwhelmed as the end of the school year nears. Former members of Redlands East Valley class of 2020 offer advice to help current seniors enjoy their final moments as a senior and prepare for their transition from high school to college.  

 At REV, Jackson Houser was involved in many activities such as key club, interact club, and California Scholastic Federation. He was vice president of the National Honor Society and played varsity swim, and currently attends UC Irvine and is pursuing a major in psychological sciences.

Houser shares how he was fortunate enough to have the chance to live in the dorms at the university safely with the new modifications created due to COVID-19. Through this, he has been able to gain many new friends. 

Although the academics have been more demanding, he truly enjoys his classes and finds himself not minding the hours he spent on schoolwork.

“My advice to the current seniors is to ensure you enjoy and cherish your time at college, as it will truly be the best years of your life. There will be some difficulties along the way, so always make sure to take care of yourself first and foremost,” said Houser.

Elizabeth Amezquita attends Cal State University, Fullerton while taking her prerequisites to apply for the nursing program. Before attending CSUF, Amezquita played for REV girls soccer team throughout her whole high school career and was a link crew leader during her junior and senior years. 

Due to the pandemic, CSUF implemented programs to help students cope with online-learning through having monthly check-ins to provide people to talk to. 

Additionally, Amezquita tells how professors are being considerate and understanding of the difficulties of remote learning while making assignments. She shares there no need to be afraid to contact professors as they are willing to help any way they can.

Jacob Herrera posing at University of Southern California. Herrera is currently attending USC and believes the mindset of many college students is to work and have a good time, without worries of people’s opinion (Photo credit to Jacob Herrera).

 “Set aside time to focus on studying. Preferably, this time should be within a time that it would be reasonable to email professors if help is needed,” said Amezquita, “Finally, it’s not bad to not know what you want to study. Many of my classmates came into Fullerton with a major in mind and in the course of a few months, they ended up switching majors to something they had no idea they would like to pursue. You are young. Don’t be afraid to explore before you commit!”  

Another student at REV, Jacob Herrera, played an active role in its music program. He was a drum major of the marching band, student conductor and participated in the wind ensemble, jazz band and various other festival groups. 

Along with his contributions to the music program, he was the president of the philosophy club, a member of the math club and a captain of the track and field team.

Herrera is majoring in philosophy and physics with a minor in musical studies for trumpet performance at the University of Southern California.

He reflects how different USC is from high school, from the social environment to the learning environment. Outward appearances and hesitation to be oneself to appeal to peers is not an issue he believes. Collaborations, learning centers, teacher assistants and other avenues are also available to help students. 

“Focus on your needs in your college experience. Do what you like and find something that interests you. It’s so easy to get lost in outside expectations or distractions. Even if taking a semester off is what you need, do it! There’s nothing that should limit you from being you,” said Herrera.

Attending Cal State Poly Pomona, Kimberly Maldonado, a former member of the associated student body, Advancement Via Individual Determination program, math club and pride club, is majoring in civil engineering.

Living on the college campus, Maldonado enjoys the opportunity to be around people with similar experiences and views.

“Stay on top of your school but remember to breathe and be patient with yourself and that [you’ve] got this,” said Maldonado.

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