Jonathan Olivares is a freshman at Sacramento State University.
I’m not an “A” student, I’ll tell you that right now. I left Roosevelt High School with a 3.0 G.P.A. I know I could have done better, but my constant procrastination held me back from being that A or B student.
In Math, I was a no-hope, C average student. That’s okay though, it’s the way I was built. I’m more of an art, hands on, and word kind-of guy.
When I started at Sacramento State University, I arrived with the same old habits. I didn’t know that it wasn’t going to work the same way. After the first two-weeks of school I was struggling to hold a C in three of my four classes, the only exception was my Spanish class. I knew what was wrong: my habits.
A perfect example of my habits would be the time when I stayed up all-night finishing two 12- page essays, one for my government class and the other for my English class. I woke up with my face on the computer desk surrounded by marked and revised drafts. Luckily, I had finished both essays, but I knew if I continued this way I would be beyond exhausted by the time the semester was finished.
That morning, after I woke up, a girl walked in the computer lab. We began to talk, and as it turned out, we thought very similarly– our goals, our politics and our beliefs. I told Yesenia about my “D” in my math class, and about my study habits. She told something that day, something that helped me change and become a better student. Yesenia told me about how it’s possible to change and create any habit in 25 days. I, of course, was skeptical but I thought I would try it anyway.
I began to make a schedule for myself and went to the math lab for tutoring. Y Santo remedio! My grades went up in all my classes. It was painful; it took discipline, and restraint. I no longer waited for hours to start my homework; I would start right away while it was still fresh in my mind. No matter how I felt, I would do my work. Practicing this led me to be not only a better student but also a better person.
Sometimes what kept me from doing my homework was the fact that I was homesick. It’s probably one of the most painful things that one can feel when being away from home. I come from a very traditional Mexican-Italian background, where everyone talks to each other and you sit together daily for lunch, so it was really hard. When the time came and I had finished my last final, I took the first bus home, literally.
On the bus back home I imagined sitting down for an afternoon espresso and coffee with my family. I also thought about sitting down with old friends who I dearly love. I thought about all the tasty food my mom would cook, like the chilaquilles, the sopes, and all the spicy salsas.
Coming home also meant reuniting with my community, hitting the street to take photos, and just simply walking around and enjoying all the life. Vacation was great, and I was able to do most of the things I wanted to do and spend time with loved ones. I can now say that I feel even more ready to go back. I’m excited for the possibilities: meeting new people and learning new things.
‘From Boyle Heights to College’ is an occasional series written by former Boyle Heights Beat youth reporters about the challenges and successes during their first college experience. Stay tuned for more!