“What Bakersfield College really did for me was give me a second chance. That, I think, is one of the greatest thing about it. Everybody and anybody who wants to learn is welcome at Bakersfield College. Some might see that as a negative. But, to me, it was an absolute lifesaver. That is why I am at Bakersfield College, and proud of it.”
My name is Salvador Cruz, and I am a Sophomore at Bakersfield College. I was borna nd raised here in Kern County– I lived in Lamont until I was 7 years old, at which point my family moved to Southwest Bakersfield. I attended public schools my whole life, and I am very proud Bakersfield High School alum (Go Drillers!).
Why am I here at Bakersfield College? Well, to answer that, let me start at the beginning. Throughout my school career, I always loved learning – especially History and English. What I didn’t love, however, was homework. I would put it off constantly, preferring to play video games for hours when I got home. I became one of those quintessential “gifted-but-lazy” students, and very much lived by the motto of “Due tomorrow? Do tomorrow.” Many a night was spent sleeplessly cramming for a history test or writing a last-minute research paper. I suppose I never really thought about the future too seriously— I felt I had all the time in the world to catch up.
Despite my less-than-spectacular grades, I managed to achieve more than a few accomplishments I was very proud of. As a sophomore I was part of the school’s award-winning newspaper (The Blue&White) and had a number of articles published Junior year, I joined my school’s Virtual Enterprise– a class where you run a mock business, attend trade shows with other schools’ “businesses”, and compete against other schools through presentations. Bakersfield High School won the State competition for Business Plan that year, and I was lucky enough to go to New York City along with the Business Plan Team.
While there, I participated in a Merrill Lynch sponsored competition in which groups made up of students from different countries had 2 hours to analyze a Harvard Business Review case study and prepare an impromptu presentation to a panel of judges. My team (in which I was joined by students from Romania, Wales and Indonesia) won second place, which meant that I got to take home an International award in the name of Bakersfield! At the end of my Junior year, I was selected to be the “CEO” of next year’s new business. It was an awesome learning opportunity to be in charge of something, as well as creating something from the ground floor and helping it grow. It was through these experiences that I learned I really enjoyed and had a knack for business, and I decided to pursue my education and career in it.
Senior year, I started getting a little more serious in school. In fact, I managed to get a 4.0 the first semester! A big change to the 2.0-3.0 range I was in the years before. However, at that stage in the game, it was too late– my only option was to go to community college and transfer to a university. But, I didn’t want to stay in Bakersfield– I wanted the out-of-town college experience. In other words I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too. So, I convinced my family to help me move to Los Angeles and attend Santa Monica College because “it was the best community college in the state, I need to go there to have the best chances of transferring!”
Considering my terrible record in the time-management, discipline, and responsibility departments, it should come as no surprise that this arrangement didn’t bear much fruit. I loved my new college, classes, and classmates. I loved the (false) feeling of independence I got from being “on my own”. I rented out an apartment with a friend from Bakersfield and my high-school-girlfriend. Although I started slacking off a bit and putting things to the last minute like before, I was still doing pretty alright.
But, eventually, things came crashing down. My friend decided to move back to Bakersfield so he could keep working and be closer to his girlfriend in Fresno. Almost immediately afterwards, the problems between my girlfriend and I came to a head, and we broke up. Within the same week, I was suddenly left alone and very emotionally hurt. I slunk into a deepening depression. I wouldn’t do my assignments, and barely showed up to class. I spent whole days at a time sitting in my room playing XBox and ordering delivery. I would spend nights at acquaintances’ places in different parts of LA, partying and ignoring my responsibilities Unsurprisingly, I flunked my first semester. I knew that if I kept going back to Santa Monica in the state I was in, I would just keep getting worse. So, disregarding pride, I officially moved back home that Spring.
After a few more months battling with my depression and spending way too much time staring at screens and avoiding productivity, it was time for me to get myself into gear again. So, I enrolled at Bakersfield College that Fall. Contrary to what I had heard before, getting into classes was pretty easy– even with open registration. I had some pretty great professors my first semester– a professor who grew up in Brazil, and a Studio Artist who used to work and teach in Los Angeles. In fact, I can say that without a doubt, 80% of my professors at BC have been outstanding. It really is true what they say– in community college you get the same quality of education (or better!) for a fraction of the cost. But, cost was never the main issue for me. What Bakersfield College really did for me was give me a second chance. That, I think, is one of the greatest thing about it. Everybody and anybody who wants to learn is welcome at Bakersfield College. Some might see that as a negative. But, to me, it was an absolute lifesaver. That is why I am at Bakersfield College, and proud of it.
This is now my fifth and second-to-last semester here at Bakersfield College, and it’s hard to believe so much time has passed! I am majoring in Economics and pursuing a Communication Certificate. I always knew I wanted to major in Econ, even before graduating high school, but my interest in Communication started and developed here at BC. I have to thank my awesome Comm teachers for that (especially you, Professor Thorson!), because without them I would have never found such an interesting and useful subject to study. I plan to transfer to UC Davis next Fall and major in Managerial Economics and minor in Communication. I’m interested in careers in management and Marketing, and a degree in Economics with a minor in Communication is a great starting-off point.
As I mentioned, I’ve had experience in Journalism in High School, and have always been passionate about writing and sharing my thoughts, which is why I jumped at this opportunity to be a student blogger for BC! I hope to share with you some really awesome content, and show you (and the world) Bakersfield College’s truly diverse and interesting student life!
Special Thanks to President Sonya Christian, PR & Marketing Director Amber Chiang, Professor Andrea Thorson, and everyone else involved in this new social media effort!