Alumni, students, college dropouts — all value college degree

By Treanna Brown
Flapjack staff

Did you know that for every $600 a high school graduate makes, a college graduate makes about $1,300? Those are numbers cited in a recent story at CNN.

There has always been a debate when it comes to rather or not a person should have a college degree and if that degree grants them success in life. For this story, three individuals were interviewed — a post grad, a sophomore in college and someone who has never been to college before. All interviewees were asked the same prompt: How do you feel about a college degree versus no degree. Do you think a person can successfully live life without a degree ? Does a person have an advantage over others because they have a degree?

 Humboldt State University alumna Fabiola Mendoza discussed her experience.

“You can go to college and get a degree and it will give you a leg up in society opposed to someone who doesn’t have one at all,” Mendoza said. “But having a degree doesn’t mean that you’ll be stable, I’ve been in that position before. I was a good student, A-B average, various campus jobs, I was a student activist but I did experience a period of unemployment.”

Mendoza now works in the EOP/SSS department at Humboldt State, with her various connections she was able to join this team shortly after she graduated. But it’s not always that simple.

“You have to find a job market that best fits you because you will find yourself being told you’re overqualified especially in Humboldt County,” she said. “And then you get rejected for the job because they don’t want to have to pay you more than they are offering.”

Mendoza said that networking is an important part of the college experience.

  “When you graduate you will start at the bottom of the barrel unless you know people,” she said. “You have to work harder to get where you want to  be especially if you’re a minority because a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job. When you graduate college people have this expectation (up until they graduate) that you will automatically be able to find a job once you graduate, but that’s not the case. Everything is about who you know.”

Though even people with no degrees are able to succeed in life, Mendoza said, it’s better for you to have a degree.

Humboldt State University student Amber Johnson said students today experience different kids of success.

“So many teens are now using social media, reality television and music as an outlet for success,” Johnson said. “The circumstances of life are all different compared to past generations, we may have more affordable access to higher education but we are not taking advantage of this.”

Johnson said she feels like this new generation doesn’t take higher paying jobs that a degree can get you seriously.

“I do believe though that with a college degree you’re expanding your knowledge and with that expansion, it makes you want to go after the good jobs,” she said. “With no degree you’re limited to what you can do, and this where the different outlets for success that I talked about come into play.”

Johnson mentioned that wanting a degree first comes from a person’s determination/ seriousness.

Xiomara Motavo, who completed one semester at community college before taking a break from school, agreed.

“I wish I would’ve stayed in school, because now I’m stuck working at Starbuck’s until I find the energy to go through 4 years of school and get my degree,” Motavo said. “ If you have a college degree you’re more a priority than anything else. You’re more inclined to get a job especially if your degree pertains to the job.”

Having a degree, Motavo said, makes it seem like you’re more serious about the job.

“Not just anyone will go to college and get a degree only someone who is determined takes that time and effort,” Motavo said. “When employers look at your resume they can tell that you want the job more than someone who is less qualified than you because they look at that resume as a handbook for you, as an insight on what they are taking on compared to someone who has nothing but irrelevant jobs on their resume.”


HSU students in Arcata face difficult housing hunt

By Jacob George
Flapjack staff

Crammed between a thin hallway, Alexander Hain pushes his way through a sea of wide eyed, bustling college students, in search of the master bedroom. The chaotic scene around him is similar to your average weekend rager, but far from what Hain expected when he went to check out a listing for an open house on Clover Way in Arcata. Humboldt State Freshman, 19-year-old Hain, has been searching the Arcata area for a house to live in for his sophomore year at Humboldt State since early April, with no luck.

“I tried to get a jump-start on the house, but I guess so did everybody else,” Hain said. “Every open house I’ve gone to in April was packed with people from school.”

Hain expressed his frustration with the “shot in the dark” approach he is forced to take whenever he applies as a local tenant, along with the financial burden.

“They want us to pay $20 each for an application fee, then tell us there’s over 30 people applying to the same house, so not to get our hopes up,” he said. “It’s frustrating.”

One of the best things Arcata has to offer is the small tight-knit community, but local students are running out of places to live. According to US News and World Report, 91 percent of Humboldt State students live off campus, which means roughly 7,500 students compete in the local housing market each year. Since 2010, Humboldt States total enrollment has gone up by nearly 1,500 students, a sharp increase for such a small community and housing market. This statistic is also worrisome due to the fact that the odds are often, in fact, always against the student applicant. Often with no credit, little job history, and a lack of references, students are often chosen last by property owners and realtors to sign or pick up leases. Students are usually forced to rely on a co-signer to even give them a chance for consideration.

As the end of the spring semester at Humboldt State approaches, students find themselves in a frantic frenzy between the months of April and June to secure a place to live for the following semester, before it’s too late.

Carma Day, an employee at Humboldt Property Management in Arcata, explained just how tight the window is for students who are looking to sign a lease.

“It’s good to start looking in April to be safe,” Day said. “May should be fine too but it’ll start getting more limited. June you’re cutting it close and by July everything’s locked up.”

She continued to note how things have gotten noticeably more competitive in the past few years, especially this one.

“This is the worst I’ve seen it, in terms of total availability,” she said. “At this point last year I had at least five or six houses opening up, right now I only have one in Arcata that’s over two bedrooms”

Nearby McKinleyville and Eureka’s housing situations are far from ideal as well, and require students to commute to school by car or bus, which students often either don’t have access to, or don’t have the time to spend multiple hours at the bus stop.

The city of Arcata has just under 9,500 households, to house a population of just over 21,000 residents, according to demographics listed at 62 percent of these are non-family households, while the other 38 percent belongs to families. Even when factoring the few apartment complexes into equation, the numbers clearly indicate that there is more people than the city can comfortably house. This, along with rising rent prices, has even led to a homelessness problem among students. Research done in The City of Arcata Homeless Services Plan indicates that the city of Arcata accounts for nearly 16 percent of Humboldt county’s homeless population, second only to Eureka at a Staggering 56 percent. Although it is hard to draw a direct correlation between the limited housing and the homelessness percentage, one could make a strong argument that it is a key factor.

Some are benefiting from the small, competitive housing market that Arcata offers. Property owner Randy Dodd and his wife Susan own multiple properties in across the Bay Area and Humboldt County, including in Eureka and Arcata. The two of them reside in Pleasanton, California, half way between San Francisco and San Jose, but make regular trips to Humboldt county to manage their property.

“I couldn’t have had to sit on one of the Arcata houses for more than one or two months for as long as we’ve had them,” Randy Dodd said. “Usually the hardest part is looking into and choosing the most qualified applicant for the house.”

Randy Dodd is not at all surprised by the mass number of applicants he averages on each Humboldt County house, or the competition in the small, but highly desired housing market.

“More people, especially the college students are coming in and shopping around the same number of houses as there was 10, 15, 20 years ago,” he said. “You don’t see much new construction going on, but soon maybe that will change.”

21-year-old turns antique hobby into occupation

By Jacob George
Flapjack staff

Rummaging through old antiques seems like an unusual hobby for a 21 year-old, but Zubin Mushfiq is turning his hobby into big profits.

Zubin Mushfiq, of Sacramento California, is a young entrepreneur that alongside his cousin, 23 year-old Zayn Mushfiq, run a business of buying and selling antique items. The two of them use the popular online shopping site eBay as the main host of selling their items that they pick up from Sacramento and Bay Area antique stores. As of 2016, eBay had reached up to 167 million active users, and as the world of online shopping begins to grow by the year, Zubin sees this as the best time to get involved in the business.

“At this point, everybody goes online to do their shopping, not just people my age or your age, but the older people have come around and seen how much easier it is to buy with a click, and let someone else dig through the stores,” said  Zubin Mushfiq. “And they’re usually gonna pay more.”

The Mushfiq family spent a lot of time in the Bay Area growing up as kids, which is where Zubin says to have found his first interest in antiques.

“We would go to San Francisco a lot on the weekends, and my Mom would take us into all these stores and look for hours,” he said. “I’d just wander around and pick up everything.”

To many, Zubin Mushfiq’s choice of becoming a self-employed entrepreneur seems too much of a risk, especially with only a high school diploma at his back, but he prefers the less traditional route to success.

“I hate being told what to do or having a boss,” says Zubin. “Even in high school I hated the teachers telling me what I had to do and when, I knew college wasn’t going to be for me.”

Zubin Mushfiq was expelled from his Sacramento high school half way through his senior year for a reason not mentioned, but says that hasn’t affected his career goals or plans in any way, except by speeding them up a couple months. Him and his cousin had been planning the business partnership for a while, and had devised to bring it all into fruition once Zubin graduated high school. After his expulsion the two were able to get a head start on the business. Zayn Mushfiq saw business potential in his younger cousin Zubin from a young age, and feels like the two are a lot alike.

“We would always be the two in the family trying to make some money off of something,” said Zayn Mushfiq. “We did YouTube videos and Vines at first thinking we’d get rich, then started doing iPod and iPhone screen repairs and shit.”

Zayn Mushfiq also remembers the weekend trips to San Francisco that the families would often take together, and spend rummaging through old antique stores. He says he first thought of the business idea after his parents would buy things from Bay Area stores and then sell them for higher prices to older relatives.

“My Mom would buy something from one of the stores and put it somewhere around the house, and at the next family gathering one of my uncles or aunties would ask how much she got it for, and right away offer her more than what she paid,” he said. “It was like a light bulb went off, but I was still pretty young.”

So how successful is Zubin Mushfiq and his business partner?

The two go through good weeks and bad weeks, some weeks netting up to $1,500, while in others losing that same amount.

“It’s all about taking risks,” Zubin said. “For every 2 or 3 items I end up flipping a profit on, I know I’m gonna end up losing a couple bucks on that fourth item, which is fine.”

Zubin Mushfiq’s day often consists of visiting multiple Bay Area antique stores, and picking up between 2-3 things a day. He picks out the few things that he is most confident he can re-sell and for a high price.

“I have to have that stock market mentality, buy low sell high.” he said.

James Cross Antique Centre in Oakland, and Keith Tower Antiques of Berkeley are two of the stores he notes that he visits on a regular basis, and often asks store owners of other places in the area where he can look to make a profit.

With the numerous amounts of online resale web-sites available today, you might wonder why eBay is almost exclusively used in the business. Zubin Mushfiq explains how the website is more widely used, and known, by people in the age bracket for buying antiques. He also notes how the easy PayPal transactions make it easier to use than credit or debit card transactions, and how bidding helps him increase his profits.

“Sometimes people just keep bidding and bidding way past the point where you’d be fine selling it at.” he said.

Zubin has recently began to bring his high school friend, Abid Allahyar, along with him to shop in an attempt to teach him the basics and expand the business by 1. He believes that with more people out scavenging for potential hidden gems, the success rate for the business will increase. Allahyar believes that he can help the business in a number of ways, and is appreciative of Zubin for letting him into the small business they have created.

“I can help bring in more items, and I’ve always felt like we have the same mentality in a way,” said Allahyar.



HSU alumna brings cider culture to Humboldt

By Lauren Shea
Flapjack Staff

Michelle Cartledge, co-owner of Humboldt Cider Company, makes being a entrepreneur on the surface seem like a piece of cake even though it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Cartledge from Eureka, California leads the Sales and Marketing at Humboldt Cider Company in Eureka and The Local Cider Bar in Arcata.

“When we first started, people’s idea of cider was just Clendenen’s Cider Works in Fortuna, where it was just regular apple cider,” Cartledge said. “It was delicious, but not fermented. People now have an idea of what cider is and it’s nice to be able to introduce that to the community.”

Cartledge’s interest in cider began about 10 years ago, which sparked her interested to start a cider company. She noticed there was a small market for cider in Humboldt County. The sales of cider started to grow exponentially around the country at the time and she knew she wanted to get into that market.

“When you’re younger, people always ask you what you want to do when you grow up,” Cartledge said. “I get nervous because I had no idea. I thought to myself well I’m only 15, am I really supposed to know what I want to do?”

This got her thinking about her options she had. By time she was 16, she thought about going into business and opening a bar.

“I didn’t know what kind, but that was my mentality from then on out that I wanted to open a bar,” Cartledge said.

When looking at colleges she wanted to attend, she wanted to go to school out-of-state, but couldn’t because of the cost. Humboldt State University was popular option for her as it was still in California, but also providing the space away from small town Vista. She studied Business Administration with an emphasis in management.

“I wanted to graduate in four years,” Cartledge said. “ I was taking 19 units and working three jobs. I just wanted to get done with school as soon a possible.”

While she was at HSU, she made her way onto the beer scene tending bar at places like Redwood Curtain Brewing Company and The Local Beer Bar. Through work and friends, she met her husband, Darren Cartledge.

“We were friends at first for about two years before we started dating,” she said. “Neither of us wanted to get married. Then he decided he wanted to get married and proposed.”

The Local Beer Bar opened in March 2012. She worked as the manager and helped with the business side of the bar. Darren Cartledge, Michelle’s husband, have know each other since 2010. He talked about working with Michelle.

“Working with Michelle is awesome, we’ve been working together now for about six years,” Cartledge said. “She deals with the things I’m not good at. We compliment each other well. It’s fantastic for me because areas I’m not strong in, she’s strong in those areas. She puts alerts on my phone to remember and takes care of everything. She’s motivated, smart, pays attention to detail, very driven and focused.”

Cartledge graduated HSU in 2012. She wanted to open a cider bar in Arcata, but it didn’t work out at first. The idea came to them to start a Kickstarter to fund the Humboldt Cider Company Cider Garden.

I’m a very determined, hard working person,” Cartledge said. “If I set my mind to something it’ll happen. I’ve always has a business mindset. We were looking to start  Humboldt Cider Company originally in Arcata. Working with the city was difficult and they didn’t seem like they wanted to be apart of it. We felt like we got shut down before we even started. We then started looking at places in Eureka and someone mention Redwood Acres.”

Looking into Redwood Acres, it started to become easier in the process of starting the company. They came up with the idea to start a Kickstarter campaign to build the tasting room at the production facility on Redwood Acres. The campaign raised $37, 821 from 300 people in 45 days and opened up the tasting room in Feb. 2015.

Cela Wexler, bartender from Arcata, started working at The Local Beer Bar in January 2016. Since then, she has worked at the location on Redwood Acres, The Local Cider Bar in Arcata and will be working at Humboldt Cider Company Tap Room once it opens in Eureka. She talked about working for Cartledge’s company.

“I love working for the company,” Wexler said. “I love the industry. They allow employees have the freedom to be themselves. They put a lot of confidence in the people they hire. It’s really nice and encouraging. They make you feel appreciated and important.”  

This year, they decided to close The Local Beer Bar and turn it into Humboldt Cider Cider Company Tap Room. The location at Redwood Acres serves as the production facility and tasting room and because of this, it’s only open on the weekends. The new location on F St. will be open seven days a week and offers the option of buying bottled cider.

Cartledge has had the dedicated focus for following her dreams and being fast and efficient with the help of friends and the community. She has the ability to co-run two companies all while raising her daughter who she had just last year.

“Apparently we couldn’t help ourselves,” Cartledge said. “It’s fun, once the tasting room is open, we will be set for a little bit, but who knows. We are serial entrepreneurs.”

Students talk about the work, school balance

By Alexis Parra
Flapjack staff

Jacob Ruiz, 19, is a full-time first-year student at Humboldt State University and a full-time employee at Szechuan Garden. Ruiz moved up to Humboldt County from Salinas, California as a business major, but is interested in being an undeclared major so that he can explore other options than business.

“I want to be an undeclared major so that I can take different classes and figure out what I want to do with my life,” he says. “As of right now, I think I want to go into film because I’m really interested in all aspects of film.”

Ruiz may be a full-time student here at Humboldt State University not, but will not be here for long. He does not plan to return here for his sophomore year of college, because he does not enjoy most of the people and the environment here. He will instead be attending a junior college in Sacramento, California.

Although, Ruiz does not like Humboldt State University he has made some fond memories and does enjoy the scenery that Humboldt County has to offer.

“I made a lot of great memories out and have done a lot of things, but my favorite overall aspect of Humboldt is the nature,” he says. “I’ve learned to appreciate nature a whole lot more, but not the weather. Separate the weather from the nature and it’s perfect.”

Szechuan Garden isn’t Ruiz’s first job, when he was a sophomore in high school back in Salinas, California he worked at Carl’s Jr. Ruiz worked at Carl’s Jr for a total of seven months before he was removed from the job.

“My leadership class was having a retreat and I was scheduled to work the same day,” he says. “They weren’t going to let me take the day off because all of the other workers called off that day. I chose school before work which is always going to happen, but I was going to quit anyway because I hated it.”

Ruiz decided he didn’t want to work on the Humboldt State University campus because of the fact that he didn’t want to constantly see people that he goes to school with and possibly even lives with. Plus, his work is only across the bridge, near the plaza, and near other various restaurants. Since his work is so close he likes to consider it “off-campus but on-campus.” If Ruiz had to absolutely work on-campus he would work at the university bookstore.

“The bookstore is cool and I feel as if not a lot of people go there, they only go when they need supplies,” he says.

When Ruiz isn’t in class or working he can be found doing homework, eating, watching the movie Baby Boy, or if he is feeling inspired he will make a video. He only recently started making videos and shares how they tend to just be clips of the nature or his life.

“Balancing school and work gets tiring,” he says. “The school work I can do and I don’t really worry about it if it’s wrong because I’m trying my hardest…and work is easy work it just relies on me always being on my feet.”

Ruiz believes that trying your best is all that you can really do when it comes to school work. No one is perfect in absolutely everything, and trying your hardest is all that one can do when it comes to school or anything in general.

A close classmate of Ruiz’s, Perla Sepulveda, is also a full-time first-year student at Humboldt State University and a full-time employee at Trumpet Behavioral Health. Besides having the same political science class Sepulveda and Ruiz have a bit more in common, seeing that both of their jobs here in Humboldt County are each of their second jobs and their first jobs were located in their hometowns.

Sepulveda, 18, from Pittsburg, California and is a social work major. Besides having a lot of things in common with Ruiz she also agrees with him when he shares the fact that work is tiring and even adds her own input.

“Work does get tiring and it is always really hard trying to find time for work, school, and for myself,” she says.

Leslie Amigon, a non-student that calls Minnesota home, works two full-time jobs. One as a sales associate at Bath and Body Works and the other as a hostess at one of her local cafes. Amigon does not attend college right now because when she did attend a university in Minnesota, she did not have an enjoyable experience and decided to leave after the first three weeks of the semester, but is planning to attend a university again in the upcoming year.

“I decided to get my first job at Bath and Body works because I had to pay off my three weeks at the university I was at and I was going to be bored being at home, so I just thought that I would go out and make money,” she says.

Amigon also decided that she was going to start paying for own bills and decided to get another job this time as a hostess.

“I have two jobs and at times that can be difficult to balance because I also have to find time for myself,” she says. “I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when I start going to school again because that’s going to be another thing to add to the pile. I guess I’ll just see what happens when that time comes.”

Even though Amigon is not a student she understands the difficulty that Sepulveda and Ruiz face and that she will, later on, have to face when she returns to school in the upcoming year.

Ruiz is glad to know that there are other people, especially classmates like Sepulveda, that he can relate to.

“Honestly if you are stressing about school, you shouldn’t have to,” he says. “If you’re like me and you’re trying your hardest that is all you can do.”