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Julie Zendejas

Hometown: Oxnard

Major: Sociology

Graduation Date: Spring 2021

Career Plans: Work for a Non-Profit Organization inspiring, educating, and supporting the community

My name is Julie Zendejas, I identify as a Mexican woman, proudly raised by two parents who immigrated from Mexico to the United States in the hopes of having a better style of living. Both of my parents ended their schooling at junior high and were unable to further their education due to the lack of money and their need to be breadwinners for their family. Growing up, I was raised with the mentality of breaking the cycle. I was told that I would have to further my education and have a career if I wanted to have a better style of living. My parents' struggles, their desire to provide a better future for me, and their support has influenced and inspired me to seek higher education.

In my senior year of high school, I had my goal set, I was going to attend a four-year institution right after high school. I applied to a variety of UCs, CSUs and one private school. I received letters back saying I was accepted, denied, waitlisted. At that moment I felt I was set, I was headed towards the right path. Unfortunately, there were a few road bumps along the way. One of them being financial, I was not able to afford it, even with the financial aid that I was receiving. The other roadblock was I did not know what I wanted to major in. I did not want to waste my time, money and effort taking unnecessary classes. Although it broke my heart, I had to accept the idea that I would have to take a different route to pursue a degree.

I pursued the community college route, where I attended Oxnard College. I took lower division courses while trying to figure out what major I should pursue. It wasn't until I spoke with a mentor who asked about what career path I would like to take that I decided to take a Sociology class to see if it was the best fit for me. After taking my first sociology class at Oxnard College, the professor made me fall in love with the subject and I decided to major in Sociology.

In the Fall of 2018, I applied to UCSB, UCR, and CSUCI and was accepted to all of them. I chose transferring to CSUCI because it was the best option for me. I fell in love with the campus when I visited. It is a small campus, the student to faculty ratio is not too big and most of all I feel a sense of belongingness. I hope to share my story and inspire others to further their education.