BLANCA HERNANDEZ: UC Santa Cruz C/O 2011
Blanca graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2011, earning her Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology. She is currently on track to enroll in graduate school for Public Health in Germany.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when transitioning from high school classes to college courses?
One of the biggest challenges I faced when I transitioned from high school to college was my writing. In my first year of college I struggled to write a college-level essay, and I was placed in a writing class that helped me improve my writing skills. Back then it was shocking to realize how poor my writing was. In high school they taught me how to write a five paragraph essay and the formality of it, but to be honest I did not have much practice writing essays in high school that I felt very unprepared once I got to college. In college 5-paragraph essays don’t exist. Another challenge I faced was balancing my study time for all my courses and the right ways to study for each of them. Because I did not know how to use my time and study skills wisely, I failed all of my three courses in the Winter quarter of my first year and I was put on academic probation. For me it was a big wake up call, and the next quarter I made sure to invest the time efficiently by seeking help. I went to EOP (Educational Opportunity Programs) at my University, and they helped me fill out a Time Management sheet for my week. I also signed up for tutoring for each of my courses. I went from a 0.00 GPA to a 3.10 GPA the next quarter.
What was your favorite part about being in Reality Changers?
My favorite part about being the program was how much it felt like home to me. Although I was only in the program for my senior year, meeting everyone at Forest Home and spending long hours in College Apps allowed me to create special friendships with many of the students and staff. Reality Changers is an amazing program that influenced me to pursue a college career. Before knowing about Reality Changers, I never considered going to college (and specially away from home). Because none of my older siblings had attained a high school diploma, for me it was just important to finish high school. Im very thankful for Reality Changers and I admire strongly everyone that helps change the reality of the students.
What did you learn at Reality Changers that has been most helpful to you either in school or your career?
Reality Changers has taught me to be as bright as I can… to be more confident and hungry for success. Being around so many motivated and intelligent individuals aiming for the same goal gave me a different outlook on my future endeavors. It taught me to seek opportunities, become more involved, and never underestimate myself. That was exactly what I did in college. Not only did, I learned a lot about myself.
What advice would you give current seniors at Reality Changers about college that you wish you had know before stepping on campus?
Come in open-minded. Take the opportunities in front of you!
Make the time for extracurricular activities and organizations (Experience is good)
Culture shocks are normal, be prepared, and learn how to cope with it while learning about yourself. You will encounter many differences.
MAKE CONNECTIONS WITH YOUR PROFESSORS!! ITS VERY IMPORTANT! it will pay off in the future.