An introduction, a personal history lesson, and the future.

“What BakersfieScreen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.23.12 PMld 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.”

Hello everyone!

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!

Jackie’s Blog: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

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My name is Jaquelin Estrada.  Currently, I am a second year student at Bakersfield College.  I’m a student who attends college not because I want to be safe financially in the future, although that is something I wish for, but because I love to learn.  I love to be educated and I enjoy educating others along the way through what I have learned. To me, education is not a necessity– it is mandatory. Every single subject that we learn in school continues to evolve day after day, and I truly believe that it is my duty to be informed of everything that happens around me not just for my sake, but for others.  If I want to make a difference, I have to do everything I can in order to accomplish it.  To me, learning is the key that opens the door for you to reach those opportunities and goals.

My pleasure for learning ties in with other things I love to do.  For example, I love music.  I love Classical and Rock music more than any other genres.  However, I don’t only love listening to music, but I enjoy composing and playing music as well.  I am a songwriter, violinist, vocalist, and a choir director for children.  Music is a subject that I love to learn, compose, and to teach to inspiring musicians, as well as learning its impacting history.  It is a big part of my everyday life and is something that connects me to others everywhere I go.

Another subject that I can connect with my passion for learning is politics.  I enjoy learning about the functions of U.S. politics, but what really catches my attention in politics is international relations, mostly regarding to foreign policy and diplomacy.  Every day, I encounter people who don’t understand the situations that are happening worldwide and are also confused if our nation is doing a good or bad job to help solve it.  When I meet someone like this, I always take the time to explain the situation to them and help them understand what they really need to know.  The majority of them ask me, “How can I learn to understand this as much as you have being this young?”  My answer to them always is, “How about you take a political science class at Bakersfield College?  It’s never to late to learn.”

So, as you can see, I really love to learn more than anything else.  Everything I do in everyday life involves learning.  When I think about my decision in late 2012 of where I chose to be my home of learning, I have to say that I couldn’t have chosen a better place to finish my general education and associate’s degrees than Bakersfield College.  My story of choosing Bakersfield College wasn’t a very common one during my graduating class year, but I see it becoming more and more common every semester that passes by.

I began college at a CSU in Northern Cali.  I was quite comfortable with my decision of attending college there, but when I checked my loan statements for financial aid I had seen that for my first semester, a $6,750 unsubsidized loan had been given to me, with a 6.8% rate of interest.  I was shocked when I learned about this!  After going to the financial aid office at the university to verify with them if my statement was correct, they said it was, and that the same amount would be paid by loan each semester since the cost of tuition and rooms was very high and was to increase the next year.  After that, I was very dissatisfied with the financial situation.  If I would spend 4 or more years studying there, there was no way that I was going to be able to pay my debt and not to mention, all that interest! I asked for advice from the financial aid office, my professors, and senior students, and I actually almost got a unanimous answer from all of them.  They advised me to leave the university finishing my first semester if I wasn’t willing to take the risk of debt as a freshman, especially if getting in debt bothered me more than studying there.  In reality, getting in debt bothered me more and wasn’t allowing me to enjoy all the expenses, therefore I decided to transfer to a less expensive college after my first semester.

After making that decision, I had no idea where to go.  At that period of time, I still had the chance to transfer to CSUB for the spring trimester.  However, there in the middle of it all, laid the chance of attending a community college instead and paying even less for my general education.  Right there, BC came to mind.

During high school, I had never thought even once of attending Bakersfield College.  My goal was always to attend a university right from the start.  Not to mention, all my life I had heard negative comments about BC that quickly made me turn my back to any idea that I could ever attend there.  In that critical life decision making moment however, I had to lay down all my options on the table and figure out which was the best of them all.  That same afternoon, I decided to call the counseling office at BC and ask them to give me all information possible about the college and if it was a good choice for me.  After speaking to a counselor there, I got such unexpected good information that made me that same day to take a leap of faith and attend Bakersfield College instead.

I’ve attended Bakersfield College for a year and a half now.  Without a doubt I can honestly say that when I chose to attend this college, I had no idea that I had made the best choice for my education and love for learning.  Here at Bakersfield College I have discovered my favorite subjects, my major, my academic strengths and weaknesses, and what career I want for my future.

As a student who is studying Communication Studies and Journalism, who also has a passion for learning and spreading knowledge to others, I want to blog for the college in order to be that student that can represent those hundreds of BC Renegades who have a similar story to mine or a unique story of their own to share to incoming and current students at Bakersfield College.  I also want everyone to know that discovering our goals and our future is possible here at Bakersfield College.  I want all our students to believe that they are in the right place and will achieve their goals with hard work and everything this amazing college has to offer.  All we need to do is to get to know the college better.  That’s what I have done and I have come a long way.  I truly believe all students can do the same.

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