Joanna Beltrán from Cohort 5 is a first year student at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is double majoring in Sociology and Psychology with the hopes of one day becoming a lawyer or psychiatrist. Even though Joanna’s first year has been challenging on an academic, professional, and personal level, she has found a network of support on and off campus. Joanna stresses the importance of college student’s finding networks of support whom they can reach out to when faced with obstacles.
Joanna is extremely grateful for all of the support she received and continues to receive from College Connect. “College Connect, first of all, showed me I mattered. It showed me I can achieve my goals, it motivated me, by working along my peers, to apply for scholarships, and the whole college application process was not that overwhelming. So, College Connect gave me that lil’ push I needed in order to believe in my capacity as a high school student who can go to college, and succeed in college.”
Joanna has kept herself busy while at UC Santa Cruz. She is currently Co-Chair of USEU, a volunteer at El Centro from the Chicano Latino Resource Center, and is involved with the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). She also plays soccer and performs spoken word poetry every now and then. Some of Joanna’s college highlights include participating in the 2014 Union Salvadoreña de Estudiantes Universitarios (USEU) Annual Statewide Retreat at UC Riverside, attending Pachanga (an event hosted by the Chicano Latino Resource Center), and holding an internship at the CLR Center.
As Cohort 6 is about to transition to college and Cohort 7 is finishing up their first year in College Connect, Joanna passes along her first year college wisdom. “When in lectures and class discussions: speak your mind, and ask when in doubt.Make the library your favorite place! Try to start doing any kind of physical activity from the first weeks of college. It will keep you in shape, it is a GREAT STRESS reliever, it will keep you away from trouble and it is healthy. Also, beware of sororities and fraternities. Make sure if you do decide to “become greek” you stay truthful to yourself. Lastly, realize that you are already creating change in society by transitioning to a higher education. Make sure at one point you learn about your history because reclaiming what has been taken away from you will definitely build a sense of identity on campus, and in society. Good luck cohorts 6 and 7. And if you could share this quote, the cosmos will truly appreciate it. ‘Knowledge makes us accountable’ -Ernesto Che Guevara.”
We look forward to keeping in touch with Joanna and wish her the best at UC Santa Cruz!