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Emilia Contreras

Hometown: Oxnard, California

Major: Business

Graduation Date: May, 2022

Career Plans: Financial Advisor

Hello everyone! My name is Emilia Contreras, majoring in Business with an emphasis in Finance. I am from Oxnard, California, born and raised! My educational journey started at Lemonwood School, where I was not very involved. At R.J. Frank Intermediate middle school, I played basketball my eighth-grade year. During my time at Channel Islands High School I played softball my first two years.

Growing up I had acceptable grades, but still found it difficult to ask for help when I needed it. My parents being campesinos, worked a lot and when I would ask my older siblings for help their response was always, “Nobody ever helped me, figure it out.” Therefore, school was a struggle and I often caught myself wanting to give up. “What is the whole point of this?” I would tell myself. Nobody in my family ever talked about college. My older siblings chose a wrong path in life and it caused a lot of stress for my parents. I found myself slowly following my older siblings’ footsteps and adding on to my parent’s stress. Realizing that what I was doing was not okay and the people I surrounded myself with was not the right crowd, I cut off all ties to that lifestyle. Personally, I did not want to end up like my older siblings and remembered an important part in my life. My little sister was watching everything I was doing and I was influencing her without realizing it. This was when I turned my life around, I started to focus on my education in order to go to college once I graduated. Things started to take a turn when my father became sick. This was stressful on my family since he was the only one bringing income to the household.

In order to contribute to finances, I had to start working. My senior was difficult because I had to balance going to school and working until 11:00p.m. while riding the bus for transportation. When I would go visit my dad at the hospital, he constantly reminded me of how proud he was of me for doing well in school and stepping up to help around the house. During my senior year, I was very fortunate to be in the AVID program where they helped me with the college going process. I knew I wanted to come to CSU Channel Islands because it affordable and close to home. However, during the application process I was debating whether I wanted to begin college at a community college. My determining factor was going to be financial aid. I applied to scholarships through the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) and applied to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) through the CSU application. I received the Armando and Lourdes Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 and received my acceptance letter from CSU Channel Islands. I shortly received my acceptance letter from EOP that I told myself, “You are going to go to CSUCI, we will figure it out”. I am glad I did, because the amount of support I have received at CSUCI is amazing! As a first-generation college student, I rarely find myself being alone on this journey. Now I am a peer mentor for the Peer Education and Equity Program (PEEP) ready to be there for you and help guide you through this journey!