Jackie’s Blog: So, I Got Selected to Go to Jury Duty During the Semester…Again.

Two weeks ago, I got a letter from the Superior Court of the State of California.  As it yearly happens to me, I got selected to go to jury duty during school season.

Once I read the letter, I rolled my eyes. “Not again!” I said.  Every time I have jury duty, there’s a list of things I have to do.  I have to email my professors for an excuse and ask them how in the world am I going to get my lecture notes.  Then I have to face the unfortunate case of missing classwork, which some professors don’t allow you to turn in afterwards since you missed class, making this situation even more frustrating.

A day before jury duty while I was emailing my professors, I was extremely discouraged.  I had planned out my whole week already.  Not only did I already have it all sorted out, but it was an extremely important one full of deadlines.  Now, thanks to jury duty getting in between my schedule, my plans were, and still are, scattered over the place.

A few days before the date I kept on feeling upset about having to do jury duty, but the night before while I was preparing for the busy morning, I was thinking about why I was so upset and ultimately, how would I decide to feel in the morning.

I had two options, either I was going to be willing to do my job and be patient, or be upset and complaining about being there all day.

I sat down and asked myself, “Why am I going to jury duty?  Well first of all”, I thought, “I am a U.S. citizen.  It’s a citizen’s duty to be part of a jury for the sake of incorrupt justice.”  Then I wondered, if I were ever in court, would I want a judge only judging me or would I rather a group of people who could discuss the situation and hopefully come up with an unbiased judgment to judge me instead?  Without a doubt, I would want the jury, of course.

After mediating for a while, I finally concluded something I hadn’t before.  “I’m a U.S. citizen”, I said to myself.  “It’s my job to do this.  And not only is it a responsibility since I am a citizen, but I’m very proud to be one”.

Suddenly, that lead to another thought.  So many people of my race and ethnicity wish they were U.S. citizens, and would do anything to be one.  I had the blessing to be born here in the United States, so why not be glad of what my country has put upon me to do?

After that I wasn’t upset anymore.  I came to understand that doing jury duty is an honor, not a burden, no matter at what time I get called to fulfill my duties.  And a burden it shall never be to me again.  That’s a promise.

Jackie’s Blog: FCC Has Approved Net Neutrality Rules— How Does This Affect Students?

About nine months ago, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) released a plan that would block Net Neutrality and give permission to ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) to discriminate speech and content providers online, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook, to pay for fast lanes, or so to say, “faster service”.

Right now you might be asking, “What is net neutrality?”  Net neutrality basically means “open internet”.  Having open internet allows us to view whatever content we want, express ourselves all we want, and continue to have the fast or steady service we have online.

When I heard about this plan in May 2014, I was absolutely shocked.  Not only were these regulations going to make the internet hard to use, but also cut free expression and hurt students, especially those who want to open businesses and create technology in their careers in the future.

So how can it hurt careers?  Say, for instance, a business student today has a strategy planned out to start a certain website and app providing every single TV show, movie, and film that has ever existed.  If it competed with ISP’s in any way possible, they would have the power to make the service extra slow, thus making people who tried to use their program turn back on them due to the lack of speed. Basically, with net neutrality gone, their dream could be impossible to pursue.

How would this hurt free speech?  If someone wrote an article or even said the smallest thing online that went against what ISP’s would want to hear, they can delete it and make it invisible to the public.  That’s killing free speech in America in an instant, since most of us practice free speech and gather information online almost all the time.

Or how about those who rather watch TV content and movies online provided by Netflix or Hulu, for example?  If Net Neutrality would be overturned, the ISP’s would have the power to make the websites or apps stream really, really slow— if they had anything against Netflix or Hulu.  Or what if the ISP’s didn’t like the show Nashville or Game of Thrones because it was competing with their content provider?  They could make the show super slow or even shut them down and make them unavailable.  There is A LOT of people who catch up on movies and TV shows online now a days. Who wouldn’t be mad about that?

Today, however, thanks to the protest of approximately 4 million Americans, myself included, the FCC has heard our protest to keep Net Neutrality alive.  Today, we won the vote by 3-2.

This was a close one.  Let’s be grateful, Renegades, let’s be grateful.

Jackie’s Blog: Ever Missed One or Several Classes During A Week? Here’s How to Get Back on Track.

This spring semester has been one of the toughest I’ve ever had.  Since school began, I’ve gone through four consecutive flu cases causing me to miss several days of school.  I was weak to the point where I was lying in bed up to four day weekends waiting for Monday to come when I would feel a bit better and drag myself to school.  Thankfully, I didn’t miss my biology course, but I ended up missing up to four psychology and journalism classes.  It was enough to give me a major scare.

In college, missing one class is enough to get you behind.  The thought of how to get back on track is an overwhelming one as well.  It’s hard to figure out where to start.  However, though a series of steps, it’s simple to get back to where you’re supposed to be.  This week, I was able to get back on track by following them.  Thanks to these steps, that scare I had at the beginning is definitely gone.  When you experience a situation that makes you miss a class or several of them, here’s what to do in order to get back on track.

First off, you need to set your mind in place and figure out where you are.  You need to program your mind.  Think about where you left off during the semester, and where you are supposed to be now. In order to check this off the next best thing to do is to check your syllabus.  The majority of professors add assignments and their due dates on the syllabus that they handed to you at the beginning of the semester.  Make a list of the assignments you missed and chapters you need to catch up on.

After you have checked what you need to complete, go speak to your professor about your missed assignments and your goal to catch up.  As easy as this sounds, this is the part that students consider the toughest.  When it’s time to do this, there is always second thoughts crossing your mind, such as, “Is my professor going to listen to me?  Will he/she give me a chance to catch up?  Will he/she even help me catch up?”

Although these second thoughts might make you uneager to ask your professor for help, never EVER be hesitant to do this.  Remember, that’s what your professors are here for.  They get paid for it.  As a student, you have full right to ask questions and make sure that you continue to succeed in college.  Remember, it’s up to you now.  They’re only there to help.  You have the authority to make yourself succeed in college.  It’s not high school anymore.

Finally, after gathering all your information, go and do your work!  As previously mentioned, it’s up to you to get your grade back where it belongs!

Top 5 Apps You Should Download To Make Your College Life Easier

Hello Renegades! I hope you’ve all had a good first month back at school! I know I have- all of my classes are pretty manageable, and my professors are all pretty great.

Today, I want to share with you some of the apps that I find most useful in making my college life a little easier. Most of us have smartphones- but not all of us use them to their full potential when it comes to productivity.

1. myHomework


Android app on Google Play

myHomework is a phenomenally useful app. Most phones have native reminder/calendar apps, but don’t have many features past simple date and time alerts. myHomework allows you to set up your individual classes, either through the app or its website, and then schedule assignments and test that are color-coded based on the class they belong to. There are multiple ways to view assignments: By Date, Class, Priority, & Type. Additionally, there is a companion service called Teachers.io that allows professors to set up schedules and assignment due dates for their students.

2. Waze


Android app on Google Play

Waze is probably the app I use the most on this list. It’s similar to Google and Apple’s native Maps applications in that it allows you to get directions to your destination. However, unlike those other Maps apps, Waze gives drivers real-time traffic information. What does that mean? Well, when people are traveling somewhere while using directions from the app, their mph is automatically uploaded to the service. If there is traffic that is causing the average speed of a certain road to drop, the information is sent to the service which then takes it into consideration when giving other people directions and travel time. Also, it allows passengers using Waze to report hazards such as accidents, objects on the road, potholes, vehicles on shoulder, and construction zones. Other people using the app are then alerted to these things when they near the location of the reports. I use Waze every morning before I drive to school, and it’s helped me avoid extra long traffic delays- which can be very helpful, especially when you’re already short on time.

3. Mint

(I found this screenshot on the internet, it is not of my personal app)
Android app on Google Play

Mint is a great app for tracking your personal finance. I would be willing to bet that most of us do not budget or “balance our checkbooks” very often. Mint takes the legwork out of it— you just add your bank(s) and credit card(s) to the app by using your login information from each service and it automatically updates your balances and transactions. You can customize how much you want to spend on certain categories every month, and it’s pretty good about automatically knowing what transactions belong to which category. (Though sometimes, you have to fix it.) It also provides you with charts and graphs that let you see your monthly spending and income habits so that you can improve on them. The company behind Mint is Intuit, better known as the makers of TurboTax and Quickbooks, so you know you are in capable hands. They also provide a website and PC/Mac program, which I’ve found is better to use when setting up your budgets and goals. Considering how important it is for College students to keep track of our money, Mint is something I recommend everyone try out!

4. Venmo


Android app on Google Play

While we’re on the subject of Finances, I’d like to tell all of you about this app called Venmo. I originally heard about this app over the summer, while my girlfriend and I were hanging out in Santa Monica. While waiting outside for a pizza order, a street artist walked up and asked her if he could do a few sketches. When offering to sell them to us, he mentioned the app to me but I didn’t think much of it afterwards.
My past experiences with ‘money transfer’ apps (such as PayPal) had always been convoluted. You had to sign up for the service, add your bank information, wait for them to deposit small amounts into your account, go back and enter what the amounts were, etc, etc. I dismissed Venmo because I assumed it was going to be just like that. But, I was wrong. A couple of weeks ago, I put up an extra concert ticket for sale because my friend ended up not being able to make it. I got a pretty quick response from a girl in Los Angeles, and she asked me if I could accept payment via Venmo. ‘Well, does it take long to set up?” I asked. “No no! It’s suuuuper easy” she assured me. Sure enough, it was.

All I had to do was sign up with my Facebook account (this isn’t required, but it makes it faster), confirm my email, and simply add my bank account by logging in with my online banking info. No routing and account numbers to look up. No waiting period.  She told me to look up her name, which I did, and submit a “request” to her for the money. I did so, and within a few minutes the money appeared in my Venmo balance. The whole process took 10 minutes, including waiting for her to respond. I couldn’t believe it— it really was an incredibly easy and convenient way to send and receive money from friends. I don’t know about you all, but I often find myself spotting my friends for things and vice versa. That con sometimes get complicated, since you have to wait until the next time you two see each other, and hope that you remember to have the cash on you they’re owed. It becomes even more complicated when you use the “I’ll pay for you next time” method of repayment. Venmo keeps things simple, clear, and easy. I’ve already used it a few more times, and I suggest that everyone who frequently exchange money between friends download it and try it out. It costs absolutely nothing to use the service, another plus over PayPal (that charges a transfer fee in certain cases).

5. WolframAlpha


Android app on Google Play

WolframAlpha is what is known as a Computational Knowledge Engine. It is similar in operation to that of a calculator like the TI-89, but on a much much larger scale. As you can see in the picture above, you can enter an equation and it will give you the solution, a graph, and much more (derivatives, roots, integrals, etc). I mostly use the WolframAlpha.com website, and it has been an absolute lifesaver in doing my Precalculus and Calculus homework. Although a knowledgeable tutor is definitely the best option for when you are stuck on your homework, Wolfram|Alpha is a great tool for when that is just not an option. In fact, it is so useful that my professor uses it in class and encourages we use it to check our answers or whenever we run into a particularly difficult problem. WolframAlpha also calculates a lot of different information, not just math. For example, entering “How much iron is in a cup of orange juice” returns “.34 mg” as well as a ton of other information about iron intake and orange juice nutrition. Typing “Myoglobin” gives you the protein sequence, molecular weight, and structure. You can even enter “Lexington and Concord”, wherein it spits out the exact date of the Revolutionary War battle, the cities and important people involved, and the Wikipedia summary of it. WolframAlpha is a powerful tool with a lot of potential for any student in need of quick answers, no matter the subject of study.

Don’t forget to hit the Follow button on the left side of the page to receive an email every time a new post is up! All you need is your email address, no lengthy account sign-up required.

See you soon Renegades,

Salvador Cruz

Jackie’s Blog: Thinking of Switching Your Major? No Worries!

So, at a certain point in your life, you decided to go to college.  You had it all sorted out. You knew the career you wanted, and signed up to get a degree in the major that you thought was the best for that job.

Over time, as you started a brand new semester though, you enter a class that you haven’t heard much about.  Eventually, it has you hooked.  And that class isn’t even related to your career at all.  But you love it.  You feel like you can study that day after day.  Sooner or later, you discover that you have a talent in that area of study.

However, you are signed up to receive a major in another area.  A series of questions begin to develop.  Aren’t you decided already?  Are you not meant to major in your current major instead?  Your moment of truth has finally arrived.  What are you to do?

The answer is simple.  Do some research, and switch to that major!  That sounds a little easy, but complicated at the same time.  In reality, it is.

I went through this during my second semester of college when I transferred to BC.  Through my experience, I have developed a set of questions that have helped several students who are close to me find themselves and go through the right track, and I’d love to share them with you today.

First of all, do research on what consists of the major you want to switch to.  Check what the major has to offer.  What classes do you have to take?  What do the classes consist off?

Second, check what careers this major had to offer.  What is the average salary of those careers?  Above all, which one interests you the most and is the one that you would want to pursue?

After choosing a new career, ask yourself questions such as:  What degree level do I need in order to begin my career?  What do I need to add to my resume in order to get a job offer after I’ve earned my degree?  Any specific internships or jobs?  After figuring this out you will be more focused on what you need to achieve.

Finally, ask yourself if you are satisfied with your career plan.  After answering all these questions, if you are still sure you want to switch your major, don’t hesitate!  Do it!

You can switch your major on Inside BC anytime. The process can be tricky though.  If you have any questions on how to switch your major, visit the Counseling Office (SS Building) and ask for their help on this process.  They’ll be glad to help!

EXCLUSIVE: Firestone Grill advances plans to open Bakersfield location.

I’m proud to be the first to report the following:

Firestone Grill has applied for an alcohol license at the old Wavelengths building at 3501 California Ave, right next to the CA-99 N on-ramp.

Known for their succulent Tri Tip sandwiches and other barbecued food, the company operates Firestone Grill in San Luis Obispo, Main Street Grill in Cambria, and— a location many of you may be familiar with— Dog House Grill in Fresno.


Dog House is one of my favorite restaurants. I have never had a Tri Tip sandwich as good as theirs— towering layers of Tri Tip served on a toasted french roll and slathered with the best barbecue sauce on earth. I’ve made more than one trip to Fresno with the sole purpose of enjoying a meal there. The Fresno location also features multiple big-screens and a full bar, making it a great place to watch a game with friends.

It was reported exactly one year ago by Bakersfield Californian’s Pete Tittl that Firestone Grill’s Facebook page announced plans to open a new location in our very own Bakersfield. (http://tinyurl.com/TheDishFirestone).

While originally said to be opening this past November, the month came and went with no news from Firestone Grill. I assumed that perhaps the plans might have fallen through for one reason or another (as business plans often unfortunately do.) However, while driving down California Ave this previous week I noticed a rectangular piece of paper taped to a window at 3501 California Ave. Excited, I returned later to inspect it more closely.

IMG_8636Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 7.19.51 PM


Officially posted on January 7th, this notice brings with it very positive news concerning the future of the restaurant. I believe we can definitely expect it to open some time this year. I contacted Firestone Grill via their Facebook page, but they had no information to add.

The intersection at California Ave and CA-99 is looking to become an exciting and lively area in the coming year. This Spring, a 100,000 square foot development is slated to open at the site of the former Three-Way Chevrolet dealership. According to Scott Underhill, the development will be a “beautiful Santa Barbara-style center [featuring] several new and exciting eatery concepts…as well as service-related tenants.”

It is no secret that, although a city full of spirit and history, Bakersfield isn’t as diverse in dining and entertainment as it could be. As a lifelong resident, I am very excited for these new developments. I’m sure many of you agree.

Thanks for reading.

See you soon, Renegades.

-Salvador Cruz

Five Days.

Good evening everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season and a happy New Year!

Winter break has been going on for a little over a month now, but it barely feels like yesterday that Fall semester and Finals were over. Time has really flown by! (Yes, that’s a cliché. I’m sorry.)

It is now, officially, FIVE DAYS BEFORE SPRING 2015 SEMESTER.

I don’t know about you all, but I found myself thinking of the negative aspects of going back to school a little too much. Lectures to (try to) be on time to, homework to do,  and tests to study for. It’s easy, at least for me, to focus on these less-than-enjoyable facets of school right before a new semester begins. I think it’s pretty dumb to start worrying about bad things before they even happen, so I’m going to devote the rest of this post to the good things that a new semester brings!

  • Learning new things:

Seesh, I’m really leaning on those platitudes today, aren’t I? But no, I’m serious. While there are certainly people enrolled in college with the primary goal of enriching themselves and getting educated for Education’s sake, many of us are primarily going to school to get a degree and, in turn, a career. It’s important to remember, however, that college isn’t just about getting a piece of paper that hopefully gets us a job.  One of the great things about Community College is that the professors’ main job is to teach. (Unlike some Four-Year universities, where professors devote much of their time to research and publishing.) In my time at Bakersfield College, I’ve had some amazing teachers who have taught me a lot— and not just what I need to pass their class. So, for all of you busy bees out there with achievement on the brain, remember to step back from time to time and truly enjoy the experience of learning.

  • Making new friends:

I’ve professed my love for Bakersfield College, and Community College in general, to you all before. However, there are some things that I don’t like. Despite their name, there just doesn’t seem to be a strong sense of “community” at Community Colleges (Irony in the wild). As soon as class is dismissed, most students bolt out of the door and straight to their cars. There’s a couple of legitimate reasons for this:

  1. Community Colleges are ‘commuter schools’ since they have no on-campus housing.
  2. Many students in Community College have other commitments on top of school

Of course there’s nothing wrong with being busy and trying to prioritize your time. But, if you can, I suggest you try and make some time to meet some of your classmates— or even random students around school! I’ve met a ton of awesome people and made a lot of great friends in the last two years at BC. All it took was a little extra time and effort an on my part to say hi. Also, BC has a lot of clubs where students can meet others with similar interests. In the coming weeks, I hope to share information on them with you all.

  • A fresh start:

As we all know, a New Year brings a “New Start”. But so does a new semester! I’ve had my fair share of problems with school in the past: lower-than-ideal grades, dropped classes, lackluster experiences. It’s easy to get discouraged by these things, but we must remember that the best way to improve on the past is by moving forward. If you didn’t do as well as you wanted last semester, now is the perfect opportunity to make things better!

Thanks for reading! I’ve got a lot of great Back-To-School content coming up for you all, so keep your eyes peeled!

See you soon, Renegades

-Salvador Cruz

About Bakersfield College, by Bakersfield College students. Learn more about being a Bakersfield College student straight from other BC students.


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