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Steps to Success

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DeShawn Harding (Automotive Student): If you don't have a destiny or a goal to reach, then you are going to be trapped. If you go and put yourself out there and accomplish goals that you want, you are setting yourself free every day. That's what I feel coming here. Gregory Alvarado (Transfer Student): actually, like, coming out of high school I really didn't, uh. I went to a four-year after I graduated from high school and then after three months of being in the engineering program at the University of Miami I decided that it wasn't something that I wanted to continue. So, I took two years off and then I did, I got a lot of different jobs and learned a little bit more about who I was. And, after those two years though, I came to South Seattle Community College. Nicole Alefaio (Transfer Student): I don't know, it was kind of empowering, just 'cause, I don't know, I felt good that I was, like, I was going to college. Nigel Farr (Transfer Student): Everybody wants and has these goals and aspirations, but like I said, you have to, you have to have a plan, and part of education is a plan, because it's a certain amount of time and certain things that you have to do, and being very regimented. Narrator: College life. Success here is a journey taken one step at a time. The many stories of achievement at South Seattle Community College are inspiring, as you'll see. Leanna Patricio: Hello, how are you doing? Ted Coskey (SSCC Instructor): Okay. Narrator: Meet Leanna Patricio. Her college adventure began at South. Leanna is now a senior at the University of Washington with a major in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She's back to say 'thank you' to her instructors. Leanna: ...when I didn't understand stuff, I realize you gave me good feedback on my papers. Narrator: Through a special program in high school, Leanna got a huge jump on college. Leanna: The biggest thing about Running Start was that I got to graduate from both my high school and college at the same time. So, as I graduated from Cleveland High School, I also graduated from South Seattle with my A.A. degree. Narrator: As a Running Start student, Leanna was able to take college classes and receive college credit while she was still attending high school. So with her credits from South, Leanna transferred to the 4-year university. She's a real stand-out in her family. Leanna: I'm the first person in my family to go to college. Both of my parents had gone through high school. My mom, she went here to finish her GED and started some college. I think she got her A.A., but I'm the first to go to a four-year. Narrator: More of Leanna's journey is ahead. First, let's hear about some of South's current success stories - the people who make up South's diverse population. Every one of these students has turned adversity into triumph through hard work. Some of them may still struggle from time to time. Each of them can pass along some great advice on navigating the path to higher education. Petersen Chem (Transfer Student): And especially, like your friends, sometimes if they are pulling you down, you've got to break out from that crowd, you know. If they're calling you up when you know you should be studying 'cause you have an exam the next day, you know, you got to tell yourself, okay, I think I'm hanging in the right- the wrong crowd right now. They're not motivating me, they're not inspiring me. Kathie Pham (Graduate): The advice that I would give to students who are struggling with hurdles right now is that everyone is struggling right now, like whether that's in the classroom and not knowing the subject, being behind in homework, not getting the resources that you know you could possibly get for saving money and text books - the list could go on and on. But the thing is you go out there and do the research because the resources are available on campus. Narrator: Many had to overcome cultural and personal hurdles. Hibo Sahal (Transfer Student): It would be like, for me it was like the English problem. I was scared that I won't be successful because of my English. Then, once I started, I talked to myself and said 'okay, I spoke four different languages apart, besides, English before, ' so I said, 'you learned those languages.' Even though I learned those languages at a younger age, it still didn't make a difference because I learned them and they weren't all mine. Olga Garces (Transfer Student): It's, uh, big families, families where they have six, seven kids and they just waiting to the kids to get out from high school in order to get a job and help to support the family. And they think, they always think that if they support them to go to college it's wasting money. Narrator: But it's not a waste. In fact, just the opposite. One after another, these students have taken the first steps for success, however difficult those steps are. Vincent Beardsley (Culinary Student): I had dropped out of high school about ten years ago, and so it was my first time being back in school in about ten years, and so it was just a really liberating experience for me. Julie Rowe (Technical Student): I felt in a funny way like I was a teenager again, because I am also a returning student, and I am not the age of a lot of the students who are enrolling for the first time. So in a funny way I felt kind of like my youth was restored. Emma Schuster (Transfer Student): When I first got here, I was really nervous. Just stepping foot on the college campus, it was really nerve-wracking and that was because it was just different. It was the first few months I had moved to the States. Olga: Like in my case, I always thought that I could never do it because I didn't have the money or the support from my husband, but I found the ways to do it. Because I have a good advisor who will always guide me and help me to do the papers that I had to do to get some money from the scholarships and from the foundation. Narrator: This program is one of many, each year, at South, to help students find the right direction. Whether it's English as a Second Language (ESL) or motivational guidance, new students see the opportunities up close. Special workshops and course introductions help demystify the college process and expose new students to what the college has to offer. Students learn about classes like English, psychology and science, and what is needed to enroll in these courses, what will be expected of them, and how the credit will help them earn their Associate of Arts degree and help them transfer to a four-year university or college. Tim Sowell (SSCC Advisor) Electricity, got the idea? Okay, now there's classes going on, so we're going to have to... Narrator: Students also see, first-hand, the professional technical courses available on campus. Colleges can offer a wide variety of training, from auto body shop, auto engine repair, airplane engine repair, wine making or culinary arts. The high level of training you can receive at a community college will help you find great jobs and help you start your own business. One important milepost on the road to higher education is funding: how to pay for college. That's where scholarships and federal financial aid can help. Gregory: The money is out there. There's scholarships out there, there's grants out there. That's, that's how I'm here. I am actually a Gates Millennium Scholar. I, uh, all of my undergraduate and graduate schooling is going to be paid for because I took that initiative to apply for those, for those, scholarships. So do that. Nigel: Yes, I'm on financial aid. The process, was, it was easy. It wasn't too hard. It was just information on me. I did it online. Vincent: Finances is probably the biggest obstacle that we've been dealing with. I have a disabled daughter and my wife is a stay at home mom. So, I was pretty much the sole breadwinner of our household. So for me to be back in school, we've definitely taken a drop in income in the household and so it's just, again, it's just one of those things where you push forward, and you make it through this and it's just going to get better in the end. Narrator: Back on campus, Leanna Patricio meets with another one of her instructors. Leanna: ...I loved that class! That was such a good class. Bob Dela Cruz (SSCC Instructor): And then, also we're adding, for this Asian Pacific Islander grant that we received, I added a different or a new book. Mike Hickey (SSCC Instructor): Hey, Leanna! Narrator: Leanna is grateful to the faculty for showing her the road to success in higher education and for their part in helping her learn strategies for success. Leanna: What I study now is not going to be, it's not going to determine who I am for the rest of my life. If it turns out that I end up continuing on in Speech and Hearing Sciences, and I become a speech language pathologist, I can still do everything I've wanted to do. I can still be a writer on the side. Narrator: Leanna has company. Many current South students see all the choices on the path ahead. Julie: In terms of grades, I've been able to be successful. But also, it opened some doors to me, and I'm a reporter for the campus newspaper, so I'm getting some experience that's different from even from what my major is. Vincent: I'm not 100% set on what exactly I want to do. I've always had a love for culinary and food, like that. And, the main basis for me going into the Hospitality Management is hospitality is a lot more encompassing than just cooking. So, that, that in itself will open up a lot, a lot, more doors for me. And beyond that, it's a management degree. So if I get out of the program and decide that I'm tired of working with people and I don't want to do anything with hospitality, I have management training. So I figure it's a very well- rounded degree that I can literally go anywhere in the world with. Narrator: The opportunities at South are just a few steps away. There is support and guidance from a dedicated, intelligent and compassionate faculty. There's encouragement from fellow students, a culturally diverse population with so many views and different interests. And there are funding opportunities along the way to help with the cost of a quality, higher education. The most important step is up to you. Kathie: Though it might be scary, the first step will actually lead you to a pathway. And, all of the students are, you know, going through the same thing, though different degrees of struggles and hardships, they will be there with you as well as the staff and faculty and everyone on campus. Leanna: I'm really proud of myself for going to college. It's not a given for everybody to go to college. I've realized some people can't, you know, struggle through high school, and so to make it as far as I have I feel pretty good about it, and I know that there's a lot more college to go still, but I think attending class and really trying to put in the effort, I'm proud of myself for sticking it through even when I had trouble. Melanie Meligro (Leanna's Mom): When she was in high school, I knew she would do well. She, you know, she did Running Start and I thought that was wonderful. And she did really well. But as a college student now, I think that because she truly wants this, I truly want it for her. And so when she talks about it, it just kind of warms my heart.

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 7 seconds
Year: 2012
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Director: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Views: 39
Posted by: scctv on Nov 2, 2012

Learn important tips from other students on how to be successful at college. Making Achievement Possible (MAP) Video Series: MAP is a college success video series designed to help students, potential students, and their families learn to navigate the college system and gain the skills necessary for academic success. MAP consists of sixteen short videos, each with curricular materials for instructional use. All videos were funded by a Department of Education/AANAPISI grant to South Seattle Community College. More information is available at

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