Saúl Nolasco, a former Santa Monica College student now at UC Santa Barbara, is finishing his first quarter and jokes that classes are too easy.
At first being away from his mother and little sister made him homesick. But he joined Hermanos Unidos and La Escuelita, clubs that help him stay active and give back to the community. At La Escuelita Saúl tutors local kids in math and helps them with homework. Saúl says that the clubs helped him adjust to campus life. "My homesickness subsided as soon as I joined Hermanos Unidos and La Escuelita. These two clubs on campus have helped with adjustment and reinforcement of being active. As a member of Hermanos Unidos I help promote academic excellence, community service, and social and personal development. As hermanos (brothers) we support each other as we prepare to graduate, thrive, and become respected leaders on campus and beyond." With Hermanos Unidos, Saúl volunteers at community events and is planning a Thanksgiving dinner for needy families.
"With La Escuelita I help promote youth education and college access in the low income communities of Isla Vista and Goleta. Since we are a community service based organization we make it our priority to give back to our community as much as we can. Every other Friday we have "Day with the Kids" at Children's Park and spend the day doing fun activities with elementary kids and build strong relationships with them!" These experiences are also good preparation for Saúl's future as a school teacher.
There were other challenges involved in overcoming homesickness. "I had to get comfortable with my new roommates. It took time because I cannot easily open up to strangers or people I just met. It was extra hard because some of them have really bad habits. But I’m glad they’re respectful when I speak up about our differences. Doing groceries and cooking is time consuming, but if I plan ahead and don’t waste food it’s not much of a hassle."
One of Saul's biggest accomplishments so far has been mapping out his course work to be on track for graduation."Now I know I’m on the right path and will be able to take some courses that will count both for my major and minor. I feel confident and excited about my future classes. In particular I look forward to my Chicano/a Studies course that will cover the power of language by professor Casillas and hope to do research with her." Saul wants transfer students to know that success means doing a lot of planning and research. Stay tuned for his next blog post: Tips from a Transfer Student.
Last thoughts from Saúl? "I feel proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and getting informed and applying for work-study. Soon I will start working at a children's center on campus. This opportunity will not only be a great learning experience but will also help me when I apply for Gevirtz Graduate School of Education for the Teacher Education Program."
During his winter break Saul plans to come back to Kid City to share his transfer experience with the Community College support group, especially students planning to transfer in 2016. By 2017, Saul will graduate with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in education. After graduation Saul plans to attend graduate school.
We are very proud of Saúl for his accomplishments, and grateful for his leadership and contributions to other community college students at Kid City!