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The Start of Something New

The day has finally come! It is graduation day and you’re getting ready to go to the ceremony. You arrive at the ceremony and it all hits you. Four years of lengthy assignments and sleepless nights has finally come to an end – but is it really? In this blog, I offer you advice and tell you that this, in fact, is not the end, but the start of something new, something scary, and something that I can guarantee you are not ready for.

The Misconception of “Free Time”

In high school when I had free time, I was able to do whatever I wanted. Looking back, life in high school was fairly scheduled. You wake up, go to school, come home, do homework and by 5 p.m. you are pretty much free to do as you please. College is the exact opposite. During the week, less time is spent in class and the rest you are expected to complete assignments and readings on your own on your own time. One thing I’ve learned from this freedom is to manage time wisely. The schedule I followed in high school didn’t really prepare me for the kind of schedule I would have in college. While you take on less classes in college, you should still give it all the attention it deserves. We have to remember that in the end, it is our time being used up to study and complete assignments. We also have work and a social life to balance. Make time for yourself as well. While it is great that you put all your time into school, it is also easy to forget about taking care of yourself. It’s easy to fall into bad habits, but make sure you are not wasting your time when you can be doing something productive. Part of growing up is learning how to handle yourself and the things around you all at once. Take the time to teach yourself time management. There is only one you, make the best of it. I can promise you that having your time under control is the first step to success.

The World is Bigger Than High School

Starting from a young age, we are told that one of life’s biggest accomplishments is getting the opportunity to graduate from high school. While this is true, it is important to remember that life does not end with graduation. Living in such a socially connected world will make you feel like your recent break up with your significant other is the end of the world. I’m telling you right here, right now, that there are plenty of fish in the sea. That exam you failed or that friend you are no longer friends with will not matter in college. The one thing that matters in college is yourself and your own happiness and peace. If you take one piece of advice from this, I want you to go into college, or any experience for that matter, with an open mind. An open mind opens doors, opportunities, friendships, relationships, and so much more. Don’t be afraid of taking big risks. Live your life the way you want to.

Advocacy is Your Best Friend

I had a hard time my sophomore year in high school. I took chemistry honors with one of the most influential teachers. I was always asked to come talk to him during brunch, lunch, and sometimes after school. I could tell that everytime I had a conversation with him, something made him irritated. After a long time, I finally understood the reason he was so passionate about his student’s successes. He wanted all of his students to know how to advocate for themselves. The day I learned about advocating for myself was the day my life changed. From that day forward, I learned to put myself and my goals first. I was ready to take on whatever obstacle came my way to reach my goal. Learning how to help myself was a rollercoaster ride, but had I not learned about advocacy, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Advocacy, in my opinion, is a theme of life. Learning how to get what you want by asking for help and taking the first initiative is essential to many aspects of your life. Never be afraid to ask for help because I can assure you there is someone out there who wants to help, they’re just waiting for you to walk in through the door.

Remember, make the most of what you have. You have a long journey ahead of you and I know all the hard work and energy put into achieving your goals will pay off. Graduation is only the beginning. Keep an open mind and Carpe Diem! You only live today once, don’t waste it!

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.


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.


Andy’s American Dream

Throughout the upcoming weeks, GiveTeens20®®interns are discussing their ideas of the American Dream and how their potential career relates to this. In addition, a video from the organization GROCO highlights how successful individuals in their career field have helped broaden their American Dream.

I moved to the United States from Mexico with my parents when I was just four years old. We moved here with the intention to live a better life full of endless opportunities. It was not easy being a young boy having to adapt to a whole new world, but looking back, it was the best decision my parents could have made.

It is no secret that we all have goals and dreams, but what is not commonly known is that every dream requires a sacrifice. The sacrifices we make are what keep us going because we know the end result will pay off. We all fight for a dream, but some immigrants fight for the American Dream. As children, we are told that the smarter you are and the more money you make, the happier you will be. To some, that is the American Dream. To me, the American Dream is being successful, whether that be mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, etc. The American Dream is using your platform to uplift others. It is making sure you are happy as well as those around you.

To me, the American Dream is being successful, whether that be mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, etc. The American Dream is using your platform to uplift others. It is making sure you are happy as well as those around you.

-Andy Contreras Tostado, GT20 Intern

I didn’t know anything about the United States when I came here; it was a culture shock. Coming from a place of very little upward mobility, I always heard my parents talking about all the opportunities available in the USA. Now that I have grown older, I am finally able to understand what my parents would talk about. The number one thing my parents constantly pushed on me was to do well in school, get good grades, and always keep learning because that alone will get you far. Being told that constantly became annoying, especially because I did not understand why learning was so important. Now, having graduated high school and being the first in my family to attend college, I realize how important education really is. It is the gateway to everything in the world (More education, job opportunities, relationships… you name it!).

Highlighted in the GROCO website, Jenny Oaks Baker emphasizes the importance of developing your own talents. Developing your own talents allows you to share your skills with others and be an example for someone of what it means to be persistent and successful. Along with Baker’s ideas, also highlighted on the GROCO website is Dirk Lorenz, owner of Fremont Flowers. Lorenz is a great example of how learning and giving back makes up the American Dream. Like Lorenz, many people go through different careers until they find the right one for them. Education and learning every day and using your skills to uplift and teach others is what the American Dream is all about.

With the help of people like Baker and Lorenz, we can create a diverse and better life for all and make our communities better.

Jenny Oaks Baker

https://www.groco.com/radio/jenny_oaks_baker_developing_talents.aspx

Dirk Lorenz

https://www.groco.com/radio/maintaining_relevance.aspx


Andy understands what it is like to stand outside the norm. Having moved from Mexico to the United States at the age of four, Andy had to adapt to a whole new lifestyle. 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.


Kayode’s American Dream

Throughout the upcoming weeks, GiveTeens20®®interns are discussing their ideas of the American Dream and how their potential career relates to this. In addition, a video from the organization GROCO highlights how successful individuals in their career field have helped broaden their American Dream.

The American dream has a very subjective meaning to people across our country or seeking to immigrate here in the United States. To some, it might be having all the money in the world, and to others it may be living a happy and healthy lifestyle. From my perspective, the American Dream has only one meaning.

The American dream is the dream of a land in which life should be better, richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. Now you might ask, what exactly does that mean? With America being a first world country, along with that comes great opportunities for everyone who comes here. That would be the reason for immigrants moving here, because they want a better life for themselves, but an even greater one for their children.

With my siblings and I being the first generation of Nigerian American in our family, it never really occurred to us to why our parents wanted us to grow up here instead of growing up in Nigeria. The reason my parents came here is most likely the same as any of immigrant: to seek a better life and have more access to new opportunities. They did not only do it for themselves, but for my siblings and I too.

Kayode (left) with his siblings.

As the child of two immigrants, the importance of taking advantage of education and all the other opportunities I have been given is crucial to me. Why? It all comes down to the fact that people in other countries do not have the same opportunities that I do as an American, such as education, free speech, and property.

The reason my parents came here is most likely the same as any of immigrant: to seek a better life and have more access to new opportunities. They did not only do it for themselves, but for my siblings and I too.   

-Kayode Giwa, GT20 Intern

We all have different aspirations, which leads to numerous perspectives on what the American Dream is. My prolonging career goal is to be a writer, and luckily, I was given the opportunity to do so for GiveTeens20®. Everyday I love to visualize what I want my future to look like, when I have achieved the goals I have set for myself as a teenager. I see myself going to school, writing, traveling, living in a big beautiful house with a family of my own someday. With the ability to do so, I will be allowed to inspire others to do what they please, no matter who says what. That is MY American Dream.

https://www.groco.com/radio/how-one-mans-film-brought-peace-to-a-war-torn-region.aspx

Kayode Giwa is a Student Athlete and Aspiring Writer with the goal of hitting milestones in the industry of writing and entertainment. Honesty always.

Read more of Kayote’s writing including his impressions of our Pearls of Wisdom fundraiser on our blog.