Pearls of Wisdom

Words of Advice and Encouragement from Past Scholars to Future Scholars

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For those now entering college (whether related to OCAPICA or not), I want to ensure you that with hard-work, dedication, and passion, the opportunities, resources, and aid that you need will come your way. Stay persistent with your goals and remember that success isn’t just a path or goal at the top of the hill¾it is a long process with obstacles that may be blocking the path to the hill. Regardless, acknowledge your personal strength and the strength within your community. With that, I want to wish everyone of the OCAPICA community the best with their endeavors and with the knowledge that this community will be here to support in any form or method.

Diana, 2016 Scholar

My advice to future college students would be to find help when you need it. In class, if you have a question, make connections with other students or visit the professor during office hours to clarify any questions there may be of the material or the course. If you are feeling overwhelmed with college, your future–or simply need help, consult your academic advisor, talk to a friend, talk to OCAPICA, or seek therapy/counseling that is offered at the school. I stress the importance of asking for help because there are many resources offered by the school and people you may know, and getting help will help you grow as a person and push you forward to where you want or need to be.

-Cindy, 2016 Scholar

College is a whole different life compare to high school. You become more independent, make a decision and take responsibility for your own. Therefore, you have to think more deeply and think through every decision you make.

-Anonymous, 2016 Scholar

Advice I would give to future college students is to never give up. You will fail and have to learn to accept it. But it doesn’t mean you have to give up because you have failed. If you fail don’t give up but just keep pushing yourself to do better so the next time you won’t fail. We have to learn from our mistake to become better.

-Marylee, 2015 Scholar

 To future college students my number one tip of advice is to not be afraid to ask for help and utilize your resources. Through my experience in college I have needed lots of help, but I was scared to seek it sometimes. I felt as if I wouldn’t get the advice I needed, and sometimes I didn’t, but eventually I found the answers. During my freshman year, I understood absolutely none of the material in my math class. However, I finally stepped up and visited my professor during office hours, went to tutoring every day of the week, and passed my class with an A. Basically just realize that nothing is impossible, you are not stupid if you don’t understand something, ask for help because no one can do it without any help!

Second tip: SAVE YOUR MONEY! Buy used textbooks from your classmates, rent books, or even rent from the public library (if it is a popular book they’ll have it). Bring your own food from home if you spend most of your day at school. Starbucks every morning adds up eventually and those lines are horrible. Also, try carpooling with people to school if you have a longer commute to school, it makes the drive more entertaining, you save gas, plus you’re helping the environment, and saving money on a parking permit!

-Michelle, 2015 Scholar

The best advice that I could offer future college students: don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone goes to college with dreams of how everything is supposed to be, but things don’t always go as planned. I don’t mean that in a bad way, because sometimes things change for the better. I started college as a political science major because I thought it was my passion, but after a few classes I realized that it wasn’t for me. I had to make several mistakes and experience different classes to realize that I wanted to be a Spanish teacher. I’ve failed tests, just like everyone else, but I haven’t let them discourage me. At first I was scared of making mistakes, but I realize that the fear of messing up kept me from doing my best. Now, I am proud to say that I am slowly pushing myself out of my comfort zone and enjoying college a lot more. I finished my second year feeling much more confident in my capabilities, thanks to OCAPICA.

-Alicia, 2015 Scholar

My advice to future college students:

You are NEVER alone when it comes to getting help in college. There are whole systems and places built around helping you get adjusted and succeed in college, whether you are looking for career advice, mental health help, extracurricular information, or even how to cook food! Take advantage of them, because those kinds of resources will definitely not be as easily available once you are out there in the real world. Your college resources – be it of any kind – exist solely to help you!

-Justin, 2015 Scholar

A word of advice for college students trying to survive and succeed:

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except for one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”-Viktor E. Frankl

I found that quote the beginning of my first year and it is definitely a quote I try to live by as I remind myself that life isn’t always going to be easy or fair but that also doesn’t mean that we have to break down and give up. No, if anything, bad situations should open our eyes to reality and make us realize that we can and will do so much better after this storm blows over. Never feel like there isn’t a place for you because you will soon find amazing friends that will make you question why you hadn’t met them before. I try and live by the saying that everything happens for a reason, and maybe I might not know the reason for such things that happen right now but I will find out only after I have become stronger by overcoming the situation. You can do this. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. Keep pushing and motivating yourself as you think of your family and loved ones sitting in the audience with big smiles and proud hearts as your name is about to be called to receive your diploma. Keep going. Keep fighting.

-Yocelyn, 2015 Scholar

Grades are important but if you just stay in your dorm all day, or go straight back home then you aren’t going to have as many memories and new friends or experiences as you could have had. Personally, I regret not being able to stay late on campus to join so clubs and make some friends, but I hope that you will take my advice and make sure you put yourself out there and have fun! 🙂

-Aisha, 2016 Scholar

When we are caught in the fray of our busy lives, we tend to lose track of time, forget about those little things around us, and be oblivious to the fact that we’re aging. It is important to not only take breaks but to also slow down and take care of ourselves. If it isn’t possible to separate your personal life from your work, give yourself pockets of time to be young. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers because the worse thing that you could do in life is grow old.

-Nhan, 2015 Scholar

-If you are a commuter, get to school early for parking and getting to class on time. You never know what the road conditions will be like.

-If you are a commuter, it may be difficult to make friends, but it is possible to look into commuter-focused organizations on campus that bring them all together to meet. Also, joining clubs or organizations helps too!
-Talk to your professors! If you have a good relationship with them, they can help you out so much.
-Have fun every once in a while! Self-care is important in dealing with stressful deadlines. Go out with friends to get boba or food one time to just forget about things and return back.

-DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. My friends did this and it really kicked them in the butt. Really. Don’t do it.

-Attend class regularly. You miss a lot and professors take note of it. I missed one class once this school year, and during that 50 minute class, there was a quiz that was scheduled that day AND a pop quiz which you could not make up.
-Study in different places. Helps you breathe a little more. Sometimes I like the study rooms, sometimes the library, and sometimes, I just like doing my work on the grass outside.
-Defend your ideas and for what you think is right. I was falsely accused of something that I didn’t do, and I stood up for myself. You can’t let people walk on you or just let them get away with something you sure as heck know you didn’t do. College is filled with people with different ideas or perspectives. They won’t always agree with you, so just stand up for yourself when you think it’s appropriate.
-Don’t be intimidated by those around you. If you have questions, speak up. Chances are, someone else could be confused too. In my COSC class, no one really asked questions in front of the class, so I thought they all knew the content and I was the only one. Turns out, many of them didn’t know what they were doing either.
-Work hard to play hard. The more work you do now, the more time you have to play and have fun. But remember, STUDIES COME FIRST.
-Aimee, 2016 Scholar

The advice I would give is to enjoy college but also know that your school work is the most important. Also, if you find someone that helps with your academic sources that stay in touch because it will make the whole process a lot easier.

-Grisell, 2015 Scholar

If I could give advice to a new college student I would tell them a few things that I have learned throughout my first couple semesters in college. First, I would tell them to do the assigned reading! You don’t want to be trying to read through 250 pages before the midterm or final exam because you decided you didn’t really have to read a chapter a week to do the homework or stay caught up. Teachers don’t always give study guides, so for the final the whole book is open! If you do the reading, it will be the greatest benefit to your grade and your sleeping habits towards the time of finals. The other thing I would tell a new college student is to be organized. You find out when homework is due and how much you are supposed to be reading the first week of school, so make yourself a study plan for all of your classes and stick to it. If you get used to doing Government homework every Wednesday after class and Math homework every Saturday and Sunday, you will be so happy when a test comes along or when the homework is due and you aren’t cramming to get everything finished on time-while hopefully still retaining some information. Overall I feel like if you can learn to do those two things, there is no way to get a bad grade in a class! It took me three semesters to figure out what is right for me and I honestly wish I would have listened when people gave me this advice the first time. It takes a lot of work, but your dream job is totally worth spending the weekends at home instead of out with friends. I usually try to pick one day a week where I don’t do homework, or only do a little, so that I can spend some time out with family or friends. Just remember, homework shouldn’t be pushed until the last moment or you will regret it! 
-Cheyenne, 2016 Scholar

I would advice future college students to go to school as soon as they graduate highschool to make sure they still have the mindset of a student and questions you have even though the teacher just explained it. This will only benefit you.

-David, 2015 Scholar

College is scary because it’s different. It’s something that will affect our future so having that constant pressure of having to do good in school is agonizing. But what helped me was seeing the big picture. When times got tough, I just kept thinking 4 years and the rest of my life will be set. This will pay off, Alyssa. Push through. I kept reminding myself that I was not the only one doing this. I thought of CSUF and all the students in my classes and realized that they are doing the same exact thing I’m doing. My advice is just to know you are not alone. And that if anyone else can do it, you surely can. Keep looking forward, and don’t ever let the past stop you from succeeding in your future.

-Alyssa, 2016 Scholar

If I had to give future college students advice it is simply to prepare yourselves. Up until now you’ve probably been in classes that scale very well from year to year. What I mean by this is that there is a very smooth transition between “Math Class A” and “Math Class B.” You may struggle once your back in school after a long summer as you scramble in your brain trying to remember formulas, but eventually you get back into pace and find your footing. College will not be so forgiving, unfortunately. It is a lot more fast paced and it will be hard to keep up not just after a long summer, but even after small intervals. Maybe you missed a day of class, maybe it was a long holiday weekend. I can guarantee that no matter what it is there will be times when you feel you are falling behind and you will find it difficult to get back into the swing of things. Most of your classes will only be 2 times a week for around 16 weeks. That’s a very small amount to spend in class every week. You will have to get yourself out of the high school mindset and put yourself into a new mindset if you expect to keep up. Everyone will have difficulty finding their correct pace, but once you find it college will be plenty of fun.

-Marco, 2015 Scholar

This year has been incredibly frustrating as my transition was not as smooth as I had expected it to be. However, just being in college for one year, there’s so much to take away from the experience and just as I am taking away to be humble, I would like to share this sentiment with future students. I used to always feel entitled to great grades on my essays or awards if I put in minimal effort, however being at UCLA has definitely made me lose this conceited ego. My advice to college students would be to expect great change, and as cliche as it sounds, you really do find out who you are when you enter college. Also, I would tell future students that it’s okay to not know what you’re doing as you come in and it’s still okay that things have not become clearer by the end of the year. Just make yourself active and don’t fall into the same routine and be expecting different results. Believe in yourself, positively goes a long way!

-Alondra, 2016 Scholar

Feeling nervous about moving into an unfamiliar environment? Feeling excited about exploring wider frontiers? College is still, even upon the eve of adulthood, a period of self-realization and self-bettering. To make the most of it, do not simply focus on academics, though grades and GPA do have an impact on your future. Do explore a variety of extracurricular activities, though spreading yourself over too many things will be detrimental. Find something new, and if it works, make progress with it. Otherwise, try something new, or even come back to it later. We should come to college with a purpose of self-improvement, and a key component of this is indeed education. Learning something new—not necessarily academically oriented—is a continuous action we must take.

-Braden, 2016 Scholar

I had a lot of questions the summer after high school ended.  After I submitted the statement of intent (SIR) to UC Berkeley, all sorts of instructions and emails were given.  I had to look at the degree check, financial aid, and picking which classes to take.  It was a huge roller coaster.  Some questions I asked were what are units?   What classes do I need to take to graduate?  How should I plan out my four years?  I probably had much more questions but I don’t remember.  My first advice is to ask questions.  Even if you go to a college far away, there may be alumni from your school that can answer your questions pertaining to your particular college. Your college websites also answers everything.  Even right now, most of the answers I get are from google.  At my school, there was no one you can talk on the phone with because they were always busy.  The best way I contacted them was through email.   Each college has different criteria for satisfying requirements.  To plan out your degree, an adviser will do it for you.  If you want to do it yourself, there are four year degree planner worksheets in each college online.  You have college requirements and you also have to fulfill major requirements to graduate.  If google doesn’t work out, ask people who went to that college or you can ask the mentors at OCAPICA for more assistance.

My second advice is to try out different classes and clubs.  Taking archery and yoga class was a great way for me to relax and take a break.  Try to do something new and fun because college only happens once.  My first year, me and my friend just hopped to different events that had free Korean barbecue which was pretty awesome.  I got to meet new people along the way too.
My third advice is to just enjoy the moment you are in right now.  A lot of the time, college forces you to pick a career right away and to plan out for it.  Its okay to not know what you want to do.  For me, I was interested but was not totally sure on a career.  Therefore, I just picked a major that I was interested in learning about.  Eventually, I learned that I did not like math or English, but I liked the sciences more.  I chose a career finally since it related to my major.  These past two years in college honestly went by like a breeze in the wind.  I feel it was just yesterday I began college.  I was so focused on finishing college that I forgot to look around and dwell in the moment.  Enjoy the moment that you are in and create the best memories out of it!
-Hannah, 2015 Scholar

My advice to future college students is to pace yourself. College is a completely different territory than grade school. You’ll see people of different ages, races, backgrounds in your classes, and their will be people who are extremely intelligent as well. They may make you feel like you don’t belong in a particular class or school as you put in it in your mind that you are inferior to others. Though you must also remember that everyone is different, and you are you. Pace yourself, find your own rhythm, and you see that everything else will fall in place. Your worries and stresses will diminish, but some will stay and that’s okay as it is a part of life.

-Guadalupe, 2016 Scholar

Future college students, do not treat college like high school. Attending college is a HUGE step forward in life, and the rewards of earning a degree is what can make a person successful in life. There will be times when your college classes become stressful, there will be times where balancing school work and your job will be challenging, and much more. While we go through these tough times, we learn from it, we learn on how to improve for the next time something similar happens and how to cope with the situations. This is exactly how I felt during my years as a college freshman and sophomore.

My final word of advice is to take college seriously. You are attending higher education for a reason, and attending college is not cheap, you have worked extremely hard to be at the position you’re at, and if you want to earn that degree, the light at the end of tunnel, you will need to WORK for it, as it’s YOUR education. No one will keep begging or telling you to stay at college, it’s a choice we made that we need to stick with until the end. So please, take your current status as a college student seriously, as you are the future of the nation.

-Eric, 2015 Scholar

“If I were to give any advice, it would be to differentiate between our past, present, and future selves. Build upon the past so that the present is perfect and if every present moment is as perfect as we can make it, every future moment will be too.”
– Kelvin, 2014 Scholar 

“1.Create opportunities for yourself. Be proactive and seek mentorship from professors and successful individuals whose interests are closely aligned to your own.

2. Self care for a healthier, stronger and better you.

3. Remember where you come from but don’t loose sight of where you are going. Give back to the community through service; continue to work hard in school and at your workplace with discipline to achieve your goals and be a life-long learner, contributor to the society.” – Danthu, 2014 Scholar

“College is an interesting journey. Regardless where one is enrolled in, it is an experience that has many avenues; even so, it has two common themes. Either individuals can spend 4-5 years of their lives going through the motions just to obtain a degree, or they actually make those years’ worthwhile by doing what interests them. I advise everyone to add value to that piece of paper you will all work hard for. Whether its joining several clubs or studying abroad, just do it. Don’t be afraid to add significance to your degree. We have all of our life to work hard! Additionally, don’t ever forgo an opportunity, academic interest, and so on just because it’s difficult. One phrase I always hear when executives give keynote speeches to my organization is, “there isn’t an easy way to success; if there was, we would tell you all.”  Climbing to the top of the mountain won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Eventually all of you will have to break a sweet, and place several more hours in certain subjects than usual. Never forget this. The fact all of you made it this far speaks volumes! You all have a great journey ahead of you, enjoy it.” Jesse, 2014 Scholar

“If there’s one thing I would offer advice on, it would be to get involved. By this I mean, do more than just go to class every day. Join an organization, grab lunch with friends or even your professor, take on internships and research opportunities, or study abroad. The list of all the things you can do now while you’re in college is endless so take advantage of it all. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take hold of all these possibilities because sooner or later, you’ll soon be graduating from college and depending on what you want to do, you’ll either be going to graduate school or starting that new career of yours. Simply put, don’t wait for tomorrow or the next week or for next year, broaden your perspectives and take hold of all the opportunities available to you. You have nothing to lose if you go out of your comfort zone, but you can only gain something.”- Rochelle, 2014 Scholar

“I have learned so many things that I wished I knew before or have done before. And as an OCAPICA Scholar, I will pass down my pearls of wisdom in hope that others will find helpful.

  • Use the tools around you. Even if they seem they will be there for a while, do not take that for granted. Take advantage of what is provided for you, it is there for your benefit.You will not believe how many times I have missed an opportunity because I have taken it for granted.
  • Try new things and you’ll be surprised what you discover about yourself, and that is not a quote from a book but from personal experience. I am the shy type who does not like to get out of her comfort zone, but thanks to my best friends who drag me along with them everywhere, I have experienced so many new things which expanded my knowledge and interests.
  • Pursue what interests you and not what interests the others around you. Take the classes that you need and that are interesting to you and don’t be stuck in a class that does not interests you or you don’t need just because you followed your friends.
  • Have a snack with you at all time, you never know when you’ll need it. Some classes can be long and can drag up to 3 to 4 hours, and some days might be long as well. Hunger strikes suddenly and when you run out of cash, you’ll be glad you packed a snack.
  • And I saved that for last because I know we all do that and it’s a habit that is hard to get rid of: STOP PROCRASTINATING! Well, at least try. It’s a good feeling when you finish things early. You will always tell yourself that you will finish it the next day, and the next day becomes a week later and before you know it, it’s your deadline.”- Hana, 2014 Scholar

“1. For those of you on the quarter system, it’s unbelievable how quickly time flies by in a just 10 weeks. My advice for studying especially in STEM courses is to study for about ten minutes on previous material and keep building on it each day after your lectures. It helps reinforce the material, so then you won’t need to spend hours upon hours cramming information the week before the exam. I also suggest attending office hours for both the teaching assistants and professor; they could really surprise you about what they offer outside of the lecture hall like mentorship or research opportunities.

2. Don’t be afraid to join a club even if you don’t know anyone in it. Try it out. See if you like what they are offering you in return for your membership. In fact, the point of the club is to reach out to those who share the interest and as an active member, you’ll get to form close relationships in a smaller setting. Make sure you have time to go to the meetings and events and don’t feel pressured to fit in and go to every event or meeting. It’s okay to seek out other clubs that fit better into your schedule especially if you’re taking a lot of units in some of the tougher courses.

3. Lastly, talk to our OCAPICA program coordinators if you have problems. They genuinely care for us because they spend a great amount of time reaching out to every scholar in program.”- Xena, 2014 Scholar  

“An advice that I would like to share would be make time for the Scholars workshops because they really do help! Also to be open minded to different experiences now that you are entering to the “Adult life”.” – Alicia, 2014 Scholar

“Some advice I would offer to current and future OCAPICA students would be to ask questions! As college students we do not know everything. This is the key to success because life and college takes you to a long journey that might make you wind up lost. By asking questions and gathering information it will allow you to discover and understand new routes to take while in college. Another advice I would offer would be to know your resources around campus and network with other peers in each and every class. It is important to network and build connections for your future.” – Briana 2014 Scholar

“Create opportunities for yourself. Be proactive and seek mentorship from professors and successful individuals whose interests are closely aligned to your own. Self-care for a healthier, stronger and better you. Remember where you come from but don’t loose sight of where you are going. Give back to the community through service; continue to work hard in school and at your workplace with discipline to achieve your goals and be a life-long learner, contributor to the society.” – Danthu 2014 Scholar 

“Utilize and take advantage all that this program will have to offer, because one day it will all be over.”- Viridiana 2013 Scholar 

“To future OCAPICA scholars- enjoy your college years because you’ll only do this once and then you’ll be thrown into the workforce. I wasted my first year worrying about not earning straight As but I failed to make meaningful relationships, which unfortunately made my first year lonely. I still concentrated on my education the second year but I gave myself room to breathe. Joining clubs helped me meet new friends and I was able to have fun as well.” – Daisy, 2012 Scholar

“One key advice I have for all the upcoming OCAPICA scholars is to find what your strengths and weaknesses are, find out what you love to do and what you hate to do. Figure yourself out as a person and learn as many things as you can. Just because you are physically grown “adults”, there are still plenty of things you can learn that will help you in the long run.” – Justin, 2012 Scholar

“To all future OCAPICA scholars: take in everything while you can. Life goes by ridiculously fast and it won’t be long before you’ll be leaving OCAPICA too. Yeah, you’ll probably go into cardiac arrest at the high tuition costs, but OCAPICA will help you with that. Yeah, it’ll probably feel as though you don’t have personal time for anything these days, but OCAPICA will help you with that. Try to go to every meeting and really listen to them because they know what they’re doing.” – Priscilla, 2012 Scholar

“My one piece of advice for future OCAPICA scholars would be to dare to go out and create friendships with the people in the group. These people will be a part of your life for several years so get to know them. Each will help you and make you a better person in one way or another. A sense of community is important when navigating the college education system. If you fall down they will be there to catch you, whether it’s by providing you with the resources to pass your Business Calc class or finding clubs to join on campus. If you need a listening ear for your problems or need help finding a job, OCAPICA has many programs and resources that will help you. They really do want to see you succeed and what you put into the program that is what you will get out. The more involved you are, the greater the bond and the more benefits you will reap from this wonderful Scholar program.” – Sandra 2012 Scholar

“My advice to the new scholars is just to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, to “remember your roots,” quoted by Leslie,one of my first mentors. That is honestly the best piece of advice that was given to me.” -Juliana, 2012 Scholar

“My advice to future Scholars is to basically not take this program for granted and actually use the resources and opportunities that are presented to you but in the meanwhile, to not be afraid to go out of your personal bubble and socialize with fellow Scholars. Take advantage of what you are given and use it wisely. Don’t forget to lose sight of what you are committing to and fall into those bad habits that you yourself know that you can fix. As far as when you are in college, be sure to focus on your studies yet try to be involved in your school no matter how small or big the involvement is as simply by taking the first step, it will eventually open more doors of opportunities and make your college experience that more enjoyable. Not only that, with this established foundation of a social network that you’ve developed over the years, you yourself can use that to empower your well-being as a person in the future. So my fellow and future scholars, be diligent yet be firm and bold in whatever you do but always have a little fun with it. Peace.” -Phong, 2012 Scholar

“There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and become involved in anything that interests you, even if it’s a random club like the gardening club just put yourself out there!”  – Briana, 2012 Scholar

“My words of wisdom for the future Scholars of 2014 and beyond are, it is okay to take your time to figure out what you want to do with your life. What is most important is being surrounded by people who care about your success and want you to achieve greatness in life. It’s the connection of people that takes you to amazing opportunities and for you to step outside of your bubble as well. There is so much adventure out there and that it is always a huge honor when you give back to inspire those that need your guidance as well. Lastly, your own ultimate happiness and dreams will take you far in life, only if you go out there and do so. “Dream your dreams with your eyes closed, but LIVE your dreams with your eyes OPEN”.” -Christina, 2012 Scholar