Author Archives: Van (rhymes with "fun")

About Van (rhymes with "fun")

Teaching artist. Proud mom of a 15 lb. Pomeranian adoptee. Currently lives and works in San Diego.

Featured wisdom by Julia

“I come from a family where I sort of led the pack. My parents always allowed me to pave my own way, hoping that my inner motivation would put me in the right direction. They found that this security in me would eventually make the road easier for my brother after me; if I could do it they could too. My parents weren’t very academically intelligent. They couldn’t help me with my college applications, financial aid, navigated college websites. They were supportive but couldn’t do much more than that. Some of my advice for entering college:

1. Take control of your academics. Counselors can only do so much to help you and believe me, by the time your appointment arrives weeks later, you forget the reason why you needed to see them in the first place. Print out the IGETC or other major/minor forms and be your own counselor. Educate yourself on the system. It will greatly increase your path for success.

2. Get a job. Nothing is more important for the job hunt after graduation than work experience. Employers could care less that you got an A in Microbiology. Work part time somewhere and try to get promoted. Employers care about the valuable skills you attain and how well you work well with others. Get a job.

3. Find something you’re interested in and develop it. After I filled my schedule with the required courses, I would add a “fun” class (hopefully that fulfilled a requirement) that I had an interest in. For me it was holistic classes such as stress management and nutrition. Now, my graduate work is going to be in Chiropractics and Nutrition. So take that “fun” class because for all you know that could be the beginning of your career.

4. Stay active. I don’t care what you do but keep moving. I had my best study sessions after I went on a hike or went climbing. It gets the blood flowing and if you do it with friends it increases your social sphere.

5. Become an adult. If you have parents that take care of everything financially for you, ask them if you can take control of something. Have your parents send you your mail like car registration or your phone bill. These are the years that you have the ability to LEARN how to do this stuff without having your credit score slammed if you forget when the due date is.”

-Julia, Senior at CSU Channel Islands


“What’s in it for you?” Channel Islands speaks (part 3 of 3)

Seven responses to, “What’s in it for you?”, or “What Wisdom Would you Like to Share About College?”

“I am the first person in my family to earn a degree, so I often feel completely lost at sea. All I can recommend is to make friends in your grade who can help guide you through the ins and outs of the small details (how to register for classes, where to go, where the food is, etc.). I don’t live on campus so I am often a victim of a strict routine, which is not bad, but I can recommend gaining spatial identity of your surroundings. I am in college to open doors for my future. Will I end up doing something in my major? Probably not. And that’s okay with me. I have come to terms with that, and perhaps you should too. College just provides you with a standard above the rest.”



“What’s in it for me? At the moment, what is in it for me is bragging rights. Not in a negative way or to boast to others but to say “hey I did it, I survived,” and to be the first generation college graduate. But once that is over I am left with a degree that doesn’t really offer me a steady job. I chose my major out of passion, I am passionate about the Theatre and I am passionate about writing. I didn’t want to get stuck with a degree I wasn’t proud of or dread each day I had class, I wanted to enjoy my college years but at the cost of not having a steady job after graduation is a pretty big risk. I would rather do something I love than to waste away my days doing something I hate.”



“I can’t keep up with everyone else. I do not fit in with the others. I don’t know if what I’m doing is right at all. A lot of students feel this way. Hell I feel this way 70 percent of the time. There is no right way to run your school life, but I don’t believe your way is wrong (unless you’re sacrificing a goat to heathen gods to bump up your grades, that’s a little questionable). Don’t let one tough class destroy you, at the end of the day, it’s just little grade among the list of all the interesting courses you’ve enjoyed and passed. Accept your flaws and learn to work around them or get past them. Always late? Can’t take decent notes? Everything you’ve tried not working? Okay. Then accept you are the type of person who does that, and prepare to do that again, because you are going to do that again. So find ways to work around it. You were late again, but you brought doughnuts, or have extra worksheets for people who forgot theirs, or did tons of research. All is not lost because of one or two quirks you can’t change. Good luck!”



“I want to be secured with a good job, such as an elementary counselor because I love working with children and staying with youth throughout the years. I want to feel that I will be able to depend on my own and provide back to my family and whenever I will have my own family. It would be a rewarding career and successful path if I continue my education and have a stable life and take the experiences I had from college, taking them with me. I had to figure out where to go for help since I had no one to guide me being the first one in my family to go to college. At first it was challenging but throughout the months I learned how to guide myself and adapt to the new points in my life as a college student.”



“I’m currently in my fourth year of college going onto my fifth at CSUCI. The direction I’m going in of becoming a California Highway Patrol officer doesn’t require a college degree but I’ll receive a better salary. Anyways, I’m the first one to attend a state university and soon to graduate out of my whole family and its been nothing but a struggle. I work to pay for my schooling and still live with my parents. Sometimes I really wished I would’ve moved far away and really experienced life on my own, but I’m sure that responsibility will come soon enough. But to tell you the truth, I hate college.. a lot. Its testing our ability to handle stress and stressors and how well we can cope with it and I’m not having fun. I always envisioned college being the best most exciting years of my life, but I’ve mostly just learned life lessons and gained knowledge; however, I am very grateful for my education nonetheless, just wish it was more fun.”



“I am a graduating senior and I haven’t chosen my post graduation path. As I glance back I have some regrets about my campus participation. I wish I was more involved in campus recreation, events and groups. Our campus is pretty small and I wish I took more advantage of the community programs. I feel I would have enjoyed my first years more, had I bonded with my classmates. I look back and think I should have put more effort into finding a graduate program I really loved. Now that I am graduating it is hard to decide where I want to go and in essence who I want to be. Being a psychology major, there are a sea of options, but they all require…more school. Its a big decision to commit to a graduate program and that task can be daunting. There is a mixture of excitement and fear for my future as a student and professional. I enjoyed my undergraduate experience and hope the lessons I learned here will help me in my years of graduate schools.”



“I want to get something that will be happy doing out of this. I realize you only get one shot at life, so I take any oppourtunity I get to make it as for enjoyable as possible. This is also why I want to become a teacher. I come from a poor neighborhood, so I’ve seen many kids with no direction or money, and think its the end of the line for them once high school is done. I want to help them find something to be passionate about and develop talents and help them realize that there’s more out there for you.”


“What’s in it for you?” Channel Islands speaks (part 2 of 3)

Eight responses to, “What’s in it for you?”, or “What Wisdom Would you Like to Share About College?”

“College is becoming increasingly important. Jobs are requiring college degrees and having that degree may be what separates you from the rest of the field. It teaches you responsibility and I believe college is an important step in becoming who you want to be. I’m attending college and earning my business degree in order to understand how businesses work and how to manage finances. I’m hoping that my college experience will separate me from others and that I can better learn aspects of life that I wouldn’t otherwise.”



“I have wanted to get a degree for a long time, but the timing was always difficult. As a veteran, I planned on using the GI Bill to attend school. Unfortunately, I had other obligations as a parent of 3 kids and as military spouse, it was difficult to get though school and the GI Bill expired. I managed to pay for my general ed and after three military moves, I am currently in my junior year, and will be able to finish with all classroom courses next semester. Although, yet another military move, this one overseas, makes it difficult, if not impossible to finish. Why do I continue? It’s been my goal for a long time, I want to achieve that goal, so I keep moving forward.”



“What’s in it for me? I believe, like the artist mentioned, we all come from different backgrounds that often times challenges us to go on a narrow path. The idea of coming to an amazing University gives us more in depth what our dreams and aspirations we want to achieve. I, too also come from a big, Mexican family of 7. Being the youngest of my family to attend college has also been a difficult part of my ongoing process because of the financial aspect that I couldn’t or my parents afford to pay my tuition. Coming to this campus shows a great positive place where we can pursue a career or an idea of what we want to achieve. The advice I can share is to really be up for a challenge, just how life itself is a challenge, Find yourself within all these obstacles.”



“When I exit college, I want to possess greater knowledge and communication skills that allows me to succeed in the real world. I want to be able to find a career that I’m able to enjoy for the rest of my life. I also want to have a career where I can live on my own and be able to support a family.”



“Your success as an undergrad will be at least partly a function of your willingness to reach out to other people, and of who you reach out to. Meet your professors. Get to know your program adviser. Form study groups. Seriously, form study groups. Even if you think you know the material, teach the material to your study group. You’ll know it way better afterward. If you’re shy, I understand. In many ways, I am too. You can’t let that stop you. Approach people and ask for help, or you will make things unnecessarily challenging.”



“I am a 22 year old college student who is in college to establish a better future for myself. Never give up on your dreams despite the obstacles that come your way. I am a first generation college student and a single mom who will be graduating this spring. Anything is possible.”



“What’s in it for you? I want a good job. I do not know what I want a job in, but I also want to coach softball. I want to complete college so I can say that I completed college. I want to get a college degree because I will be the first of my family. I want to make money so that I can help support my future family.”



“Having to work two jobs constantly to make ends meet, I decided college would allow me to be able to escape the dead end jobs and have a better understanding of the world around me. I was tired of working for other people’s dreams and wanted to focus on my own dreams. I knew I wanted to become a part of the art world and college was a great start to figure out how to do this and what I want with my life journey.”



I give props to all of those that submitted their honest responses. Which message resonates the most with you? Stay tuned for Part 3 of this writing series where the submissions become more personal.


“What’s in it for you?” Channel Islands speaks (part 1 of 3)

Last Tuesday I had the honor of talking to two Multicultural Art Movements classes instructed by Julianne P. Gavino. A couple dozen students responded to my question about college: “What’s in it for you?” during our writing workshop. Others also gave their input on what ┬ácollege advice they have to share.

Below are seven responses that were submitted. I’ll be posting more submissions over the next couple of days. If you are interested in submitting your two cents, feel free to use the feedback submission form entitled, “Submit Your Wisdom” on this blog site.



Seven responses to, “What’s in it for you?”, or “What Wisdom Would you Like to Share About College?”

“I wish I could learn from my past mistakes with procrastinating, although I continue to procrastinate through my semesters I really really do not suggest it.”



“Don’t let your time away from loved ones spent in class let you stray down a regretful path. The grass is greener where you water it. (Cliche but true)”



“What’s in it for you? I hope attending CI will give me the proper knowledge needed for attending a good graduate program in San Francisco. I hope it builds the foundation I need to obtain a PhD later on in life.”



“Follow your own advice.”



“College is an opportunity to earn a degree, and gain practical experience and knowledge to help you in the scheme of life. As a student you face challenges everday. With those challenges, many obstacles and adversities come up that will help you down the road. However, with external extremeties you have to keep on track and realize why you are here-to finish what you have started.”



“Time management is the key for success. You can accomplish so much as long as you have a balanced life.”



“College life, Parties, a great future, parts of college that draw most people. Unlike most other college undergrad students, I wish to gain my degree for primarily for educational value. I do not see a degree as a ticket to a great career, rather a chance at learning about a subject at a higher level.”





What do you want out of college?

Below are some responses from students in Michigan:

“I plan on going to college to not only to open up more job opportunities but also to be able to experience new experiences. I think college will educate me not only on what I plan to be but also on many parts of life, how to be an adult. I want to learn and have fun while opening up doorways for my future.”


“In college, I want to become a better person. I want to not only gain information but also gain valuable life experiences. But, I find it very important to go to college, so I can be successful in life. With success comes money.”


“I want to get a higher paying job and a higher education also but I want more out of my college experience. Yes, I want have more knowledge and know what I’m doing at my job but college is supposed to be more than that in my opinion. I want to learn about something that I want to do in the future and have fun and like my future job. I don’t want to be the person to wake up every morning and realize that I have to go to my horrible job. College is supposed to help you find a job or a major that you like and want to succeed in. That’s what I want out of college.”




“There are many things that I hope to get out of college, other than a higher education beyond high school. I would like to learn independence and learn how to better communicate with other people. The most important thing that I hope to get out of college is the education I need for a secure job in the future. I want to meet new people and study abroad. I know that there are many people that are not in college for the right reasons but I know what I want from it and I know that I will benefit greatly from it.”


“Wordle” Word Cloud

Below is a word cloud generated by questions posed by students in Julianne Gavino’s ART 332 class.

Oh my Wordle


The discussion was prompted with what kind of information students may have asked themselves or wished they knew when they first attended college. Students responded and asked various questions, such as:

  • Where do I go? – for resources, to find my class, for parking
  • Did I register for the right classes?
  • How can I familiarize myself with the many campus resources?
  • What is the social dynamic like?
  • Where is the well from The Ring (movie)?
  • Why is the Bell Tower like a labyrinth?
  • Is this place really haunted?

The word cloud image as well as the sample of questions can be seen on display at the Broome Library on the campus of CSU Channel Islands.