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Insight Alma Mater: San Jose State

We return to our Insight Alma Mater series with our wonderful Office Manager Christina and her story of studying at San Jose State University. 


What I knew about college, I learned from television.


I am the first generation in my family to have been born in the United States and would be the first to navigate my way into college. College was never a choice, it was just the next step. I had envisioned a college experience in New York filled with classes, friends, lattes, and romance.


Essentially, I was picturing “Felicity,” a late 90s drama, but I was quite mistaken. It turned out that I did not have a choice about college and not having a say affected my college experience and attitude towards my higher education. Looking back, I have a greater appreciation for what I have been able to learn, it was just far cry from what I had pictured for myself upon graduation.


Going into junior year of high school, I was hopeful and excited about this upcoming chapter in my life. I was going to finally live on my own, have tons of school spirit and success was a given. However, when it was time to start deciding on what colleges I would look at, my dad stated that I would only apply and go to San Jose State. There was no option in entertaining any other school because he said so and just like that, it felt like my future was decided for me.


Walking onto that large university campus on my first day was really exciting, however, it quickly felt like an extension of high school. Living at home and working two jobs did not afford me a lot of time to invest in the school. I was oblivious as to what SJSU could offer because I was there to get a degree so that I can check off the next box on my life to-do list. I simply noted the important buildings to complete my courses and the best times to get to school to acquire a parking spot.

My major was chosen out of duty and obligation. Although I found a major I was passionate and excited about; I ended up declaring nursing. It was practical and easily accepted by my family, however, the nursing program was severely impacted. Many days and nights were spent at the library or local coffee shops to study for this challenging and in-demand program. I hoped that if enough effort was expended, I could be one of the thirty students accepted out of the two hundred applicants. Students that I spent years with suddenly had to change majors and ultimately, I followed suit and found myself in Hospitality Management.


Hospitality Management was still a developing major that I did not know existed and it offered me a whole different atmosphere. Forced to interact with the campus more, I was able to begin enjoying my college experience in my last year and half of college. Hospitality Management showed me what I was capable of, from planning and executing successful events, to multi-tasking and being chosen to represent SJSU on the Special Events Management Team for the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.


Even though the reality was a stark contrast to my “ideal” college experience, I am grateful for my experiences, lessons, and friendships that not all are fortunate enough to get.



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