Bittersweet graduation vibes are on the way


Sierra Perales,

My journey at Cal State East Bay began back in winter of 2016. I was a transfer student from Ohlone College and had no idea what to expect out of the next chapter in my life. Since I was young I always set both long and short-term goals for myself and have always been prepared for what would be next.  But as my time at East Bay is quickly coming to an end, I’m not as prepared as I thought, a feeling I’m sure many students get just before graduation.

Since High School, there has always been this constant pressure from my family to further my education. My grandparents pushed for it because college wasn’t an option in their time, instead they went straight to work to help pay the bills and support the family. My parents pushed for it because I am their only child and all they want to see is me succeed.

Eventually it took a toll on me and I began to question whether or not I was going to college for me or for them. I later had a moment where I realized that I wanted the best future possible for myself and here I am, about three months away from graduation and more excited than I’ve ever been. As winter quarter is just about over, all I can think about is how quick those 11 weeks of spring will fly by and I’ll have to answer everyone’s, “What’s next” questions, the question every student dreads most.

Though I’m not completely unaware of what’s next for myself, being a college student in the Bay Area makes things a little more complicated. Between the cost of being a student and the cost of living, finding a job that will pay enough to allow me to move out of my family’s house is going to be difficult.

Having to cut my schedule down at work to handle a full load of courses meant that the budget was tight and there was hardly enough time to find internships, an advantage for people who look to be hired directly out of college. I’m hopeful that the skills I have attained at East Bay will land me a job eventually, but there is always that fear that I’ll have gone through all these years of schooling, only to be a restaurant server for the rest of my life.

As an undergrad I learned that it is important to remain positive, as some of the best days are to come. Graduating is a huge accomplishment that not many are lucky enough to experience. So regardless of how unprepared I may feel now, I’ll remember to look back to the times where I wasn’t sure that I’d make it this far, which I consider one of my greatest accomplishments yet.