My journey to a degree has not been easy. As I am writing this, I have come to appreciate all the little things in life. Given the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, Chapman shifted all classes to remote learning. This has been a very difficult time for the Chapman community and myself. We’ve all been required to rapidly adapt. Personally, my family has been affected by the situation. Both of the restaurants my dad works in closed, so he is not working. My brother is not going to school and his school does not have ability to do online teaching, so it has been up to me to guide him and teach him what I can. Given that I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my parents, there is not a quiet place I can go to “attend” my classes. Nonetheless, I am doing the best I can, as are my peers.
To be honest, Chapman University was not my first choice. I felt intimidated by my peers and could not imagine myself going here. Yet, Chapman is now the place I call home – I cannot imagine myself anywhere else than here. The faculty and staff have guided me through the most difficult times of my life. They have challenged me to think critically and have motivated me to go above and beyond. Together, we have overcome many obstacles.
During my freshman year, my dad got his hours cut from his second job, forcing my mom to get a job to pay for my tuition. I did not have access to a computer or Internet at home. I would do my work on my phone and when my data level was reached, I would go to the Santa Ana Public Library to print out my readings and finish my work. During my sophomore year, I received the Carrie Cooper Scholarship from Attallah College of Educational Studies. That tuition support allowed me to buy my first computer.
Later that year, I went through the most difficult time of my life. One night during a break in the academic calendar, I went to bed feeling fine and woke up in the morning with half of my face paralyzed. I had Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes a temporary weakness or paralysis of facial muscles. I emailed my math professor, Oliver Lopez, and he forwarded my email to Dean of Students Jerry Price, who guided me right away. Chapman allowed me to take an extra week off from school and assisted with counseling because of the trauma I experienced.