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College Day: Guidance Through Stories

by Sarah Martinez

The path to success is not a clear, straight arrow but with exposure to different pathways and people, children can begin laying down the foundation of their own success. College Day brings guest speakers from different backgrounds to schools all over Santa Clara County. For every guest speaker a student hears, they can begin to form an idea of what their path to success could or should be. Their stories of success demonstrates to students that success is possible, even with detours.

“This year’s theme is INVEST: Self. Family. Future! It was inspired by a presentation at a middle school where students were asked why they want to go to college. An overwhelming amount of students responded that they want to go to college to help their families,” said Elizabeth Figueroa, CommUniverCity’s Special Programs Manager.

The 9th annual College Day took place this past Friday, October 18. Within our service area, K-8 students from Horace Mann Elementary School and Muwekma Ohlone Middle School were able to hear from amazing speakers.

SJSU students enrolled in EDCO 004 Career Exploration shared their journeys to college and how they managed to overcome obstacles. 

“I was able to relate some of my experiences of going to college and getting there and my struggles with it. I feel like a lot of the advice and pathways people gave me, I didn’t really resonate with. It felt really good to take my experiences and help someone with them,” said Rajiv Iyengar, an EDCO 004 student.

While younger elementary students may not have a fully formed concept of college, they can begin to associate the concept of college with positive thoughts. By starting earlier, the transition to considering college doesn’t have to be 0-100. Instead, they’ll be able to think back to one of  the speakers that made them feel it was possible.

“This experience was really helpful for me to understand how kids feel — that they might not be able to get into college or have opportunities. I think they [learned] there are different opportunities and ways for them to shine,” said Kaitlyn S., an EDCO 004 student. 

During Kaitlyn, Rajiv, and Adrien’s visit to an eighth grade classroom, they shared how they overcome their obstacles and what to expect during the college application process. After their presentation, the students got to ask the college students any questions they have. Some asked about social pressures in college while others were interested in the different ways to get involved on campus.

Kaitlyn shared with the class, “you can make anything happen if you try for it.”

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