Overcoming Challenges in College

My name is Amelia and I am a senior at Central Washington University. I am from Burien and I graduated from Highline High School in 2016. I received an Associate’s degree alongside my high school diploma because I did the Running Start program through Highline College. I love to sing, watch movies, read autobiographies, volunteer, create art, and help people. My favorite things to study are education, theatre (acting, film, and drama), art, and music.



How did you come to be involved in CAN?

I believe I became involved in CAN my senior year in high school. I can’t remember if I saw a poster or if I received an email about it, but something of that sort got me intrigued and I wanted to take advantage of the program because I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go to college or do something else after high school.


What did you major in and why?

I am double majoring in Business & Marketing Secondary Education and Family & Consumer Sciences Secondary Education. When I graduate I will be certified to teach many classes such as independent living, personal finance, culinary, health, communications, business, and marketing to grades 7-12.

I chose to pursue education because I think education in America needs to make significant improvements. My content area is Career and Technical Education (CTE) and I believe that American education needs to focus back to CTE courses because high school graduates, and even young adults, are lacking the skills necessary to navigate society such as filing taxes, living on their own, cooking, cleaning, and communications.


What came to your mind when you received your CWU college acceptance letter?

When I received my acceptance letter, I was happy! I chose Central Washington University because it gave me the best financial package. I also knew that when you go to an in-state school there is more funding and scholarships available to you. CWU is also only a two hour drive from Burien so going home to visit isn’t too difficult, but I am also far enough away where I am able to be independent. Although I had no idea what I wanted to study at CWU, I was excited that I had a college to go to.


What is a memorable moment you've had while being in CAN?

A time that really sticks out to me from CAN is when I had to write my personal statement essay to apply to WWU. I was struggling a lot, having writer’s block, and feeling like I would never get it done or finish applying to any college. I had an amazing CAN AmeriCorps College Coach at Highline who sat down with me and walked me through the entire process. With their helped, I finished applying to not only WWU, but CWU as well. She also helped my mom and I fill out FAFSA for the first time. Her help was so selfless and amazing and I am not sure I would have gone to college had it not been for CAN.


Can you tell us about a time where you feel you made a difference?

I feel that I make a difference every time I sign up for a volunteering opportunity. I’ve volunteered through CWU as a 5th grade camp counselor where I played games, had discussions, made s’mores, sang, did artwork, and more, with the students. I think that experience will be something the 5th graders will remember forever. I also volunteered to play bingo at a community adult activity center on Valentine’s Day. They had a wonderful time and it was so much fun, I wish I could do it every day. I also volunteered at an event at CWU called “Holiday Extravaganza” where I ran a face painting craft station for kids. They were so excited and there was never a moment that kids weren’t waiting for face painting, and I loved doing it. I feel that all of these experiences have made a difference in someone’s life because I helped brighten their day- if only for a moment!




How has your journey been in college?

College has been challenging for me but the good thing is that I like challenges. When I am faced with challenges, it motivates me to try to overcome them and I always learn valuable lessons. Examples of some challenges I’ve been met with is choosing relevant classes, managing coursework, time management, procrastination, and transitioning to being more independent.

Sometimes when I am discouraged, I begin to rationalize college. Thoughts go through my mind that college seems like a waste of time or a waste of money. But then I realize that college is much more than just a piece of paper. It’s an abundance of experiences where you meet different people from different backgrounds, you have the opportunity to try new things, and you learn so much! Textbooks can seem irrelevant, but many of them are actually interesting. Overall, I am happy I went to college!


In 10 years, what do you hope to be doing?

In 10 years I hope to be a successful teacher that advocates for students by teaching and coaching current and future teachers on effective teaching methods. I also hope to be creating art and music, traveling, and writing books.


Is there something else you’d like to add?

I also wanted to mention a program I did that was a great experience for me. Summer 2017 I participated in The Residency program, a Seattle-based Hip Hop music program sponsored by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at MoPop. Throughout the program I learned about Hip Hop culture, collaboration, social justice, lyrical writing, musical and performance techniques. The program is for under-privileged Seattle youth who want to pursue a career in music. The experience allowed us to look into the perspectives of others and provided practical tools to pursue music with. We even were sponsored by Alaska Airlines to fly all-expenses-paid to Arizona to see a Macklemore concert and join him on stage for a song! The Residency expanded my knowledge of diversity and social justice issues which will have a positive influence on my future teaching methods.

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