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Melissa Carrillo

Major: Sociology and Spanish

Hometown: Oxnard, California

Graduation Date: Fall 2020

Career Plans: Social Work

I started CSU Channel Islands as a first-time freshman which means that I started right after graduating high school. I am a first-generation student and as the first one in my family to go to college, the process of applying and choosing the right place for me was difficult. I was raised by a single mother that worked in the fields and only spoke Spanish, therefore I had little help when it came to school. My mother always told my sisters and I that going to school was important because we will be able to have a better future with an education and not end up working labor intensive jobs. She always struggled when it came to me asking where I should go after high school and what my next steps were because she had no knowledge of what happens next and she felt that she was letting me down by not being able to help. I was fortunate enough that one of my teachers in high schools saw something in me that she recommended me to join AVID my junior year. I was able to get a lot of help from her and my AVID teachers because they always talked about colleges, financial help available and the different majors there were. Even though I had teachers in high school that helped me with the process of applying to college there were some challenges that I faced.

By the time my senior year in high school came I knew that I wanted to go to college, and I had an idea of where I wanted to go. I applied to CSU Channel Islands because it was close to home and it was a small campus, which was something that I looked for when it came to applying for schools. A challenge that came up when I was applying was how I was going to pay for my education. My AVID teachers told me about financial aid and they walked me through the process. I am thankful that throughout high school I had teachers that looked out for me and pushed me to join AVID because without them I would have faced more challenges when the time came to apply to colleges.

As a first- time freshman at CSU Channel Islands I was nervous to start at a new place where I had to adjust to a new environment and the coursework. Before I even started college, I was nervous and anxious but I was glad when I got accepted to TRIO SSS. With TRIO I had a counselor that I met every semester and a mentor that was able to help me when I had questions and that showed me different events that happened on campus. I chose to come to college to be able to have a better future and be able to do something that I enjoy and look forward to doing every day. The reason why I chose to double major in Sociology and Spanish is because I want to become a social worker and Spanish because I want to be able to help those that speak Spanish and struggle to get help because they do not know how to communicate with people that speak English.

I was lucky enough to be able to have teachers, counselors and mentors in high school and in college that helped me and provided me support. As a peer mentor my goal is to be able to motivate high school students that they are capable of going to college. I was raised by a single mother and being from a low-income family I did not think it was possible to afford going to college but with the proper tools and the guidance of teachers or mentors it is possible to afford going to college. That is why my goal as a mentor is to be someone that students can come to and not be afraid to ask questions.