Upward Bound supports students over the summer

by Hector Arzate
Flapjack staff

While many have argued that Trump’s policy agenda could negatively affect the lives of all Americans, the Center for American Progress found that his budget would harm employment, health, education, housing, and safety services for most rural communities, small towns, and tribal nations. It’s likely that a cut to these services would have an immediate impact on the local community in Humboldt.

As one of the oldest TRIO programs in the state of California, Upward Bound at HSU has served six different high schools in the local area of Humboldt and Trinity County for almost 50 years, including Arcata High School, Hoopa Valley High School and Trinity High School.

Leo Canez, the Academic Coordinator of Upward Bound at HSU, outlined what students are able to do during their pre-college experience.

“We have the summer academy, a residential experience here at Humboldt State University,” Canez said. “About 35 students live in the residential dorms for five weeks, beginning at the end of June and going all the way until the end of July. They study Shakespeare for their literature course, they have a composition course, a math course and this year they’re studying entomology for their science course. They also have different electives offered. This year we have Greek and Latin origins, street art, self defense and acroyoga.”

Although the proposal’s name is meant to signal change for greatness, some would argue that a 15 percent cut to the Dept. of Education is a far cry from prosperity. The aptly named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” outlines budget cuts to several U.S departments for the fiscal year of 2018, including the Dept. of Education.

The Council for Opportunity in Education estimates that the proposed budget cut would result in a $92 million or 10 percent decrease in funding for TRIO for the fiscal year of 2018-2019, which would effectively eliminate services like Upward Bound for nearly 83,000 students.

While it certainly has an emphasis on the academics, UB tries to create a more well rounded experience for students to have fun, while learning how to be responsible scholars.

“With this program, we have a lot of social activities on the other side of the academics,” Canez said. “We go camping on the Klamath River, we have a masquerade ball, ice cream social, casino night, all these different activities on the weekends and the evenings because they’re here the entire time. So they have to balance, if there’s a swim night happening but they also have homework, they have to take care of it first.”

Harrel Deshazier, psychology major, and former Upward Bound resident mentor, found that he was able to provide multiple sources of support for his students and be a part of rewarding experience for both himself and his students.

“We’re not just doing academic stuff,” Deshazier said. “I’ve never done that many things in a summer, ever in my life. We went camping, on picnics, we went to Oregon for the Shakespeare festival. It was so great because all of them were into it… It just goes to show that underrepresented populations really have so much ability, it’s just the access.”

In order to prepare disadvantaged students, UB aims to bridge the gap that first generation students students have to deal with before arriving as college freshmen.

“They come from families that are low income and neither parent has a four year degree,” Canez said. “So they’re low income, first generation and there aren’t very many resources out there at these schools to provide students with information that they need for things like A-G requirements, SAT/ACT prep, making sure that they choose the right classes, and manage their time. I think that’s one of the biggest things, students being able to manage their time, especially when you come from communities where the kids have a lot of adult responsibilities.”

As a local student at Hoopa Valley High School and alumnus of the TRIO program, Canez always had a natural sense of curiosity and want to learn, but didn’t really value education.

“If it wasn’t for Upward Bound I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Canez said. “My mom finished the sixth grade before she stopped going to school and my father almost finished high school but he had to go to Vietnam. He didn’t finish school, he actually went into the military. They didn’t really excel in school and I didn’t have role models within my own home. As I grew up, they split up and between my third grade year to my freshman year in high school I went to 18 different schools. My goal was to drop out my sophomore year and become a mechanic, that’s all that I saw for myself and my future. I didn’t have anybody in my family who went to college or had any kind of experience with it, so I didn’t think that it was an option for me.”

Despite all impediments along the way, however, Canez began to value learning even more and found that there were more options than he could ever imagine.

“After my freshman year, I was living with a cousin in a laundry room,” Canez said. “I had a thin, little mattress on the floor where they moved the washer and dryer out and the roof would be leaking. When the Upward Bound staff came to my school and said I had to take classes, it wasn’t a big deal for me because I liked learning. But the kicker for me was that I would have a bed, three meals a day, and all I had to do was some school work over the summer and it would be a safe place to be. So that was a no brainer for me.”

While Canez’s story is unique, it’s a similar story that many students from a first generation, low-income background who come through the UB program share.

“We have the saying that, ‘UB lets you be you,’” Canez said. “It allows you for the first time to truly be who are and that’s what this program is all about… You’re surrounded by adults who want to help you realize your dream and we’ll do everything we can to help you figure out what that is. The entire staff, from the mentors to teachers to the administrative staff, we find out what seed is there in each one of our students’ heart and help it flourish.”

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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.”

The HOP to HOOP – Creating On-Campus Orientation for Transfer Students

By Grace Becker
Flapjack staff

After a long year at college, the first week students spend on campus seems a long way in the past. The impact of that first week, however, has the potential to be very influential on the success of a student’s time at HSU.

John Barajas is a transfer student here at HSU. A graduating senior, Barajas has been working over the last two semesters to advocate for and create an on-campus orientation program for transfer students at HSU.

“My experience with orientation wasn’t what I was expecting, and isn’t what I think I or other transfer students need. We don’t know the area just like freshmen don’t know the area, and for most of us it’s our first time at a University too. I think it’s important for transfer students to get the same information when they decide to come here,” Barajas said.

Freshman entering Humboldt State for the first time get a vastly different experience than transfer students. The week before classes start, freshman students get the full HOP experience, exploring the campus with other freshman and learning about the resources available to them during their time at Humboldt State.

Transfer students, on the other hand, don’t get the same level of attention. Over the summer, incoming transfer students do online training with the Humboldt Online Orientation Program (HOOP). It takes a few hours to go through, and while it does provide information about resources and issues at Humboldt State, some transfer students have found issue with the level of attention paid to transfer students.

“You do HOOP over the summer,” Barajas explained. “By the time I was on-campus, three months after I did the online orientation, I had pretty much forgotten everything HOOP told me. And there were some things I wish I knew about that HOOP didn’t even touch.”

Barajas has lived on campus since he arrived in Fall 2014. He was placed in freshman housing, and while he doesn’t regret living there and is still friends with some of the people he met living there, he wishes that he had been able to meet and live with people closer in age to him.

“It would have been nice to have been able to connect with older students, especially other transfer students,” Barajas said. “And I know other transfers feel the same. Having an on-campus orientation for them could really help with that.”

As it turns out, the campus is listening to students like Barajas. The HOP office is currently working to create time and space for transfer students to attend an on-campus orientation like freshman do. Nick Conlin is the Coordinator for Orientation and New Student Programs here at HSU and has been working with Barajas and other students to integrate transfer students into HOP.

“We’re seeing a lot more transfer students enter HSU,” Conlin said. “We’re working to try to provide them the resources they need to be successful here on campus.”

Creating a transfer-specific orientation is a lot of work, something Barajas and fellow transfer student Cat Garibay know very well. Recently they’ve sat down with Conlin to help provide information about what kinds of things transfer students would want and need at an orientation.

“You can’t just give them the same things freshman get,” Garibay explained. “Yeah, info about resources and campus tours could be the same or similar, but transfer students have different things they care about or that pertain to them.”

These things include more career-orientated mentoring, mingling with older students, and attention to detail about mental health and addiction problems.

“It’s going to be a long process,” Barajas said. “But I hope it will really pay off in the end.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chaotic schedules keep athletes juggling school, training, competitions

By Nicholas Vasquez
Flapjack Chronicle

The life of a college student is daunting, in that students today are asked to balance schoolwork, staying in shape, and maintaining a social life on an everyday basis.  On top of all that, some students travel from all over the country to attend school, which means having to make new friends and get acquainted with a completely different than they are accustomed to in most cases.  This is especially true with Humboldt State University, as it is in an especially unique area that is far different than other colleges (in California especially).

HSU is no exception to this issue, as athletes across campus are taking offense to it.  One person in particular that is flustered with their schedule is freshman track and field thrower DeReginald Walker, who pursues a history degree.

“We as athletes are asked to do a lot,” Walker said.  “Not only with practice though. We have to do additional work in the weight room, and we travel for meets almost every weekend.”

This leaves little time during the day for homework and going to class, which has led to a very stressful semester for Walker.

“It is definitely stressful trying to balance everything at one,” Walker said.  “I am trying to focus on reaching my full potential in throwing, but at the same time I am working on keeping my grades up so I do not get yelled at by my mom.”

It is certainly remarkable that students such as Walker can succeed under the pressure that is put on them.  Without being able to relieve stress on a daily basis due to a wild schedule, it is important to make sure to find something to distract from reality as much as possible.  Walker accomplishes this by spending as much time as he can with his friends in Redwood Hall, which is where he lives.  Nothing strikes fear into a man more than a mother’s angry voice though.

“The environment at Humboldt definitely helps out a lot,” Walker said.  “I think I would probably go crazy if I wasn’t surrounded by a group of friends that can take my mind off of everything like the people here do.”

Athletes do not get the same social opportunities as regular students as well, making their college experiences seemingly less enjoyable. However, in order to play a sport at the collegiate level, these student-athletes have to possess a vast appreciation for their sport and a competitive spirit that is rare to find in the average student attending college.  However, these attributes are often not enough to power these athletes through the obstacles thrown at them, as they are expected to attend every practice, perform extra work after practice, go to the gym, attend all of their classes, and maintain a reputable Grade Point Average.

This raises a question: ‘How do athletes accomplish all of these things?’  The answer is not simple; as different kids have different methods to cope with the stress that comes with attending college.  Most student-athletes have that one go-to activity that they rely on as a stress reliever.  For freshman student-athlete Brailee Vandenboom, that activity is binge-watching shows on Netflix.

“My schedule makes me very stressful,” Vandenboom said.  “But what gets me through the day is the fact that I know that after I’m done with everything, I can go to my room and watch one of my favorite shows on Netflix.”

Another issue with the busy schedules of these athletes is the scheduling of classes, as they have to plan around their practices and make sure that they have enough time to get their extra work in.  Not only that, but there are certain classes that they absolutely need, and it is hard to schedule those classes in the limited time they have.  Although they do have priority registration, it is still a disadvantage to have several hours of the day taken up by non-academic activities, when the main goal of most of these athletes is to obtain a degree in four years or less.

“It was definitely difficult for me to schedule my classes this year,” Vandenboom said.  “There is so much to account for, and I didn’t realize it until I actually started school.”

Another issue for athletes is having to carry their equipment around to their classes, as often times they do not have time to drop it off somewhere before class.  Junior track and field runner Corey Berner worries about this daily, as he lives off campus and therefore cannot travel to and from his house multiple times throughout the day to drop his equipment off.

“The worst part for me is having to worry about how I smell during class,” Berner said.  “I sweat a lot, and I hate smelling bad after practice.”

 

Students explain HSU’s decreasing enrollment

By Uche Anusiem
Flapjack staff

Leaving your family member and loved ones to go off to college is not an easy task. Many people even get home sick from being apart for so long. But could that also contribute to the number of students choosing to transfer out or leave Humboldt State University?

It is not a secret that students are dropping out or choosing not to attend this university due to various reasons, though not all students will disclose those reasons.

HSU computer science major Deejay Watson, 23, is from Riverside, California, in SoCal, and has been going to HSU for two years. Watson likes the college town vibe but he isn’t crazy about the weather here, and at times he’s concerned for his safety.

“I like how it’s a town filled with a majority of college students, makes me feel like we can relate to the same struggles of living in a town that usually doesn’t have much going on,” said Watson. “And some of the things that I don’t like about being up here is the constant cold weather. And also I’m concerned about my safety up here.”

The Mad River Union newspaper reported on the decreasing number of student enrollments for Fall 2016.

“Humboldt State University’s Fall 2016 enrollment figures are down 250 students from a year ago, accompanied by a loss in freshman-to-sophomore retention rate,” wrote Jack Durham from the Mad River Union.

For a majority of students interviewed, two things that stood out. One of them being the weather in Humboldt County, and the other being their safety in the area. That comes as no surprise as the city of Arcata is known to have cold weather and constant rain fall. And in Humboldt County especially in Eureka, there have been known crimes to occur in the area.

HSU marketing major Jake Hunt, 21, is not coming back to HSU in the fall. Hunt is from Santa Rosa, California, north of San Francisco. Though it is not SoCal, areas such as Riverside and Santa Rosa both differ immensely from some of the towns here in Humboldt County.

“I feel like there’s people that leave Humboldt because this isn’t really a place that has many things going on to begin with,” Hunt said. “Like there’s really not much to do up here compared to other places or campus locations.”

For several students, the university is not located in the most favorable of areas compared to other schools in more populated areas like UC Berkeley, Chico State and Sacramento State. The homeless problem in the Arcata community also troubles students. It does not give the university or the area the best image when trying to actually recruit student to attend the university.

HSU science major James Flag, 20, has been a student at Humboldt for a little over two years now.

“To be honest man, this isn’t the funnest or safest place to attend school. Especially for someone who might be looking for that full college experience, you know?” Flag said. “Don’t get me wrong though, you can still have a great college experience coming up here. It’s just that there might be some students who came from places like the inner city areas or places where you know they had many options that were close by to and eat or places to go have fun at like clubs or bars and stuff. Not saying they don’t have it here but it’s not a lot or it’s too far.”