2020 Communication Department Student
From Our Students: What Graduating Means to Me
“I came to America from Pakistan when I was sixteen years old and within two years, my mother passed away and my father left me and my brother to fend for ourselves. I had a job working in a doctor’s office and once I completed high school, I earned a medical assistant certificate. I still wanted to go to college, but at that time, it seemed out of reach. I gradually realized I couldn’t reach my potential without a degree, so I made the sacrifices necessary to return to school and earn a BA in Communication. The support from my teachers encouraged me to do my best and I am so happy to have worked with such amazing professors. My determination to earn my degree was so high that I graduated Magna Cum Laude with an award for Outstanding Organizational Student. This graduation means so much to me because of the struggle it was to get here. I have proved to myself that when I set my mind to something, I am capable of accomplishing it.” — Fizza Kinney
I reached the major goal I always imagined I’d reach since I was a child. This isn’t the end though, this is just the beginning of a new adventure! So proud of myself! — Samerah Begzad
I knew I had no other purpose other than to take my life and create beauty from it. School was how I realized that purpose. School molded a lot of the woman I am and was an experience I never take for granted. School was once my escape when I was younger, as it was sometimes the only place that felt like people were listening. At home, my focus was spread thin leaving little room for myself. So, I tried to separate home life from school as it seemed impossible to try to comprehend the lessons both were simultaneously trying to teaching. My freshman year in high school is where, it seemed, that the separation just disintegrated. There was no balance anymore. If you would’ve told me about my graduation from college the same day that I was signing my withdrawal papers in high school, I would have laughed. In my head, it wasn’t in the cards. Graduating was never guaranteed.
As a high school drop-out, this graduation reveals how powerful it is to show up for yourself when no one else does. In school, I am continuously inspired in the moments where the lessons resonated beyond the textbook. Graduating means that I am not limited by who I am not and not limited to what I THINK is guaranteed. My accomplishments were scary because they forced me to think bigger. I was able to do more than I believed I could and I was able to have my college education add to the life-lessons I had already learned at a younger age. Graduating means I have successfully taken a step closer in completing the study of me. — Liza Calderon
“Graduating is a huge accomplishment that I am proud to have achieved. Raised by a single mother on welfare in Stockton, CA, she stressed the importance of getting an education to me at an early age. She taught me that knowledge is power and always encouraged me to be intelligent because it would be the way out from under. It was a challenge getting to college and an even bigger one to attend and support myself through college but I did it because I knew my degree in Communications at CSU East Bay was worth it. I had the privilege of receiving an education from professors who were passionate about the subjects they taught me. Had fulfilling discussions with both students and professors on topics like social justice, politics, media and so much more. I learned so much about the world and others in Meiklejohn Hall for five years. I leave CSU East Bay knowing that I was taught well and confident in the skills I earned while working toward my B.A.
Despite working toward this goal my whole life, for some reason graduating college always felt far away, out of reach. Now that I have done it, I am proud of myself for sticking to it because there were so many times I wanted to give up. I am grateful for every single person I met at East Bay and the experiences we shared along the way. I know there is still so much I can and will do in the future. Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and to current East Bay students, keep going. Your education is and will always be worth it.” — Alexis Figueroa