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Graduation: A time for reflection

I graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California 3 years ago (Class of 2016!!). Since then, I have reflected back on high school often and reminisce on easier times. Specific memories always pop into my head when I hear the term “high school”, those being: prom, my social life, and college. Being apart of the AVID program, college was something that stuck solid with me during my four years of high school. The word seemed engraved in my brain and something I always stressed out about. Being a first generation college student, I went into the college application process blindly. No one in my family had gone to college, so every decision rested on me to be made. High school was very tough in this aspect but is something I am very appreciative of. It really helped me mature because it taught me things like independence, finances, and more.

Right after graduating high school, I went to the University of Arizona for my first year of college. Moving out of state for college was one of the best decisions I made for myself and that my family made for me. I really learned how to be an adult with money management and living on my own. Unfortunately, I had to move back home after my first year there due to financial struggles. I had a really hard time dealing with this. Given where I went to school and being in AVID, the idea of the four year university had been drilled in my head and became superior over community colleges. I did not know much about community colleges, so it was made apparent to me that they were not as great compared to the universities. Because of that, I gained the mindset that I was better than those who studied at community colleges. Having to come back home felt like a denotation and that I had failed my family. Even though they reassured me everyday that they were still proud of me, I never met my personal expectations.

I transferred back home that following school year and started at Ohlone College in Fremont. Now, two years later, I am graduating from Ohlone with a degree in Human Development and with Highest Honors, and transferring to San Jose State University with a major in Child and Adolescent Behavior. Lately I have been reflecting on my college experience and what I have learned so far as I move closer and closer to the end. My biggest take away is to never doubt community college. If I could go back in time, I would have started at community college from the beginning. I would have saved a lot more money in my first two years on General Education courses. Being in a university does not make you more ahead than those at a community college. Overall, I am very excited to start at San Jose State and finishing up my undergraduate career!

Lily enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching Netflix and listening to music on her free time. She is currently a Child Development major at Ohlone College, and is transferring to San Jose State University in the fall with a major in Child and Adolescent Development.


Self-Care is Self-Expression

You’re exhausted, drained, cold, and hungry.  

You are all of these and more as your daily responsibilities begin to wear you down. Whether it’s another homework assignment due in just ten minutes, or a sick child with a fever crying for you during a phone conference with your boss, you are crumbling from society’s expectations to constantly be perfect and well put together. You are expected to be Flo from Progressive Insurance, bright and solution ready 24/7.

Because this message of perfection is persistently repeated and advertised, we are constantly in overdrive. We’re running from work to school to volunteering activities and your kids dance practice….and oh my goodness did I forget a doctor appointment?

Because being the “perfect” student or “perfect” parent is expected and sought after, we often forget what allows for us to maintain our hard work is not the red bull and extra shots of espresso in our coffee, but true self-care. The kind of self-care you deserve on a daily basis for getting through the day and the often discriminatory attacks against your identity, and not only the temporary “treat yourself” self-care.

Self-care doesn’t just have to be a kit kat, an extra iced latte, or a delicious pink box donut, it can also be the little things that you forget about during the day, like being expressive of your needs. I view self-care as self expression maintained throughout your life on a daily basis. It’s acting on your needs and wants before it affects you mentally, physically, and socially.

What does this mean?

It means being LOUD with the concerns egging at you. If you’re at work sitting on a hard chair and leaning over your desk to complete a pile of paperwork, it’s being vocal to your boss about the need to invest in better quality chairs. If you’re a student who’s struggling under deadlines, it’s being okay with asking for an extension. But most importantly, it’s being expressive about your cultural and religious needs. If you need a longer lunch break to pray or meditate, it’s telling your boss that it’s what you need and deserve.

With self-care, you do not compromise.

While your ideas and needs may sometimes be ignored, you owe it to yourself to still try to address them. Because it’s still your needs, concerns, and wants that need to be addressed and should be addressed. That is what true self-care is and it should exist permanently, and be a priority.

Because you are worth investing for.

Marwa Doost is expressive and passionate about the need to battle societal issues such as discrimination and poverty as a united and global team. Marwa is currently majoring in English with a minor in political science at Ohlone College. She aspires to be a political writer and is not afraid to question the injustices occurring against minority communities. 


FEMME 4 STEM – Where are they now?

For the past two years, GiveTeens20® has awarded multiple girls the FEMME 4 STEM Scholarship. Female recipients must be senior high school students planning to pursue a field in STEM. In 2018, GiveTeens20® was fortunate enough to award three students who exemplified hardwork and incredible goals in both their career and in life. As the new application season grows closer, here is how the scholarship has benefited them:

Joan Oclarit – University of California Davis, Microbiology Major

GT20: How did the F4S scholarship assist you in your college career?

Joan: The F4S scholarship allowed me to begin my first quarter at Davis without worrying about any financial burdens. It bought us time to pay for the rest of the quarters during my first year. I am grateful for the financial relief it has brought to my family and I!

GT20: What advice would you give to future scholarship applicants?

Joan: Just try and apply! When I first heard about the scholarship, I thought it was too late, but my teacher encouraged me to apply. The application process may seem difficult, but there’s no harm in trying. You surely won’t regret it!

GT20: How is your first year of college going?

Joan: My first couple months at Davis have been really busy; settling into college has been challenging but exciting. College is a much different experience than high school as you learn to be more independent. I recently started my winter quarter and I think it’s safe to say that I love it here! The general atmosphere feels welcoming and I’m glad to have found a place where I feel like I belong!

Ayuri Kirihennedige – University of California San Diego, Pharmacological Chemistry

GT20: How did the F4S scholarship assist you in your college career?

Ayuri: The process to obtaining the F4S Scholarship provided insight and knowledge that I may not have gained otherwise. At the informational presentation I was able to learn the importance of networking and I created a LinkedIn® shortly after. The scholarship itself provided a means for me to ease the financial burden of college, and taught me that hard work can genuinely pay off in the long run.

GT20: What advice would you give to future scholarship applicants?

Ayuri: My advice to future scholarship applicants would be to pursue whatever career that suits you the best and don’t do things “for the [college] app”. I found that people who were passionate about what they wanted to pursue dedicated their time to making a difference in the community and felt much better about their accomplishments, rather than people who did it to please college admissions officers. There are also some STEM majors that are not well-known, so they are worth looking into. Besides the traditional computer science, math, and biology majors, there are data science, chemical engineering, and environmental engineering majors. If you feel like you have to know exactly what you want to study, that’s great! But there’s always more to explore and options that you might not know you have. It’s not too late to look into them and find a perfect major that fits your interests.

GT20: How is your first year of college going?

Ayuri: My first year is going great! I have done well academically, and have met people through organizations on campus like Nikkei Student Union (Japanese-American Student Union). I have been enjoying the newfound freedom of college life, but am always eager to go home and see my family.


For more information on applying for the 2018-2019 FEMME 4 STEM Scholarship please click here: www.gt20.org/scholarship

Applications are due May 14, 2019


All About Self Care: Why It Is Important To Put Yourself First

The daily routine of work and school can easily make time go by fast and be comforting knowing you have the same thing to do everyday. However, it is easy to let things slip by, like doing laundry or cleaning out that junk drawer in your kitchen. Often times too, it is easy to put important tasks aside that may not be your top priority, like your health. The American Institute of Stress states over 50 effects of stress, some being excess anxiety or guilt, frequent headaches and feelings of worthlessness and loneliness. A pattern is seen – stress really affects mental health. The looming cloud of feeling lonely and overwhelmed can ruin your everyday performance, making the easy, daily tasks much harder. No matter who you are, a full-time student or worker, it is important to take care of yourself. Your health (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) should always come first!

I define self-care as the process of simpling taking care of yourself, meaning taking the time to relax and do what you like. To me, self care means cleaning or tidying up my personal space, taking a hot shower and doing a face mask. However, it can be more personal from person to person. For example, self care to someone may be taking a day off and going somewhere, or it could be cooking. In the end, self care is based upon what makes you happy and something you like.

Self care means taking the time off that you need to get yourself back together, a reset, if you will. It should not let you fall too far behind in other priorities! For example, I dedicate every Sunday on self care. I set aside the full morning to catch up on homework or extra work. Then, I spend the evening focusing on my self-care routine. It is very easy to get confused between the difference of procrastination and practicing self care. Merriam-Webster defines procrastination as to put off intentionally or habitually, or to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. Self care does not mean putting off top priorities! Top priorities should be done first, and then act in self care. If you are less stressed and more relaxed, your self care routine will be ten times better of an experience. Your health and state of being should always be ten times more important than that deadline you have to meet or the paper you have to write. Always make sure to put yourself first!


Lily enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching Netflix and traveling on her free time. She is currently a Child Development major at Ohlone College, and hopes to earn her Ph.D. in Education.



3 Self-Care Tips for the Busy Person

With just a little bit of attention to your own self care, you’ll feel more connected to yourself and the world around you. The world we live in today trains us to follow a routine: get up, go to school/work, come back home, do chores and then go to sleep. The only self care we get are the moments we get to have a snack or finally take a shower. One thing I’ve learned is that self care is more than just the physical things we do to our bodies. We have to take time out of our day to give our minds the break it needs. I have three simple tips to improve your own self care.

First, take the time to make yourself look good. If you look good, you will feel good and therefore have a positive outlook on your day.

Second, find time for yourself. Go on a walk, or listen to some music. Find the power within you to have some alone time. Nurture your uniqueness.

Third, develop a growth mindset. With this mindset there is no limit to your goals and aspirations. Everyone is capable of doing the absolute best they can do. When you get a negative thought, try to flip it and make it positive and I’m certain that your day to day life will improve. Always take care of you, because you will be with yourself forever.

Andy is currently majoring in Journalism/Mass Communication at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA. He loves to watch Netflix, go on adventures with friends and family, and make people laugh. Without those people, he would not be the person he is today.