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At sixteen years old I decided that high school was no longer the place for me. Ever since I hit seventh grade, high school was all I could think about. The people, the parties, just the big school…this was supposed to be the “best four years of my life.” But when I entered high school in 2002, it wasn’t all that I had expected. Sure, for the first few months it was great, meeting new people everywhere I went, going out at night, hanging out with people who actually drove…I thought it was awesome. But when I hit my sophomore year, things began to change. The school environment was not very encouraging; the people began to depress me --I watched what girls would do in order to be better than their friends and to be skinnier than the skinniest celebrity. I watched as the kids around me got spoiled by their parents with brand new BMWs and Lexuses. I began to look around in disgust. It wasn’t long till I realized that my true friends were not friends at all. I relied on my siblings for entertainment on the weekends, as far as rides and a social life. It wasn’t that I wasn’t in the “in” crowd…because I was--I just didn’t fit in. So after a lot of thought and discussion with my parents, I decided that I would leave high school. During my junior year I took the Examination of Proficiency and I studied hard to make sure that I would pass the test. After receiving my Certificate of Proficiency, I signed out of High School and enrolled in a community college nearby. At that moment and on, the pressure began to hit me…where am I going to transfer to? I kept a positive attitude and in Fall of 2005 I began my first semester as a full-time student. The classes I chose were great, and for the most part I enjoyed them. I had my best friend, Mark, in three of the four classes which was definitely comforting since I went to a school where I didn’t know many people. I studied hard, the homework load was light, and I relied on study groups to help me prepare for tests and get through projects. I knew spending time studying would be well worth it because I already knew that I wanted to go to a UC school in the years to come. In order to apply to UC schools I would need a high GPA, therefore studying was something I made priority. I cut down my hours at work and the hours I spent out with my friends during my first semester—I knew that this is what would need to be done if a UC school was in my future. I spent a lot of my first semester meeting with different counselors and different departments learning about different transfer plans, and within a few meetings I was able to create one for myself. The program that I based my transfer plan through is IGETC. The IGETC plan, which is very easy to comprehend, consists of a list of classes broken down into five sections. It specifies which classes a student needs to take in order to reach the bare minimum for a UC school. So I sat down with my counselors and created a plan based off the IGETC, however, when I told my counselor I wanted to go to UCLA, more work had to be done. Since UCLA is one of the top UC schools, a student needs to be an Honors Scholar in order to be accepted. Therefore I needed to apply to the honors scholar program. I realized that just getting into the “transfer” process and keeping up with my classes was overwhelming. With the help of my sister and my mom, I was able to apply to the honors program. The application process went as follows: an essay that described why I am a good candidate for the program, two letters of recommendation, and a high school or college transcript that had at least a 3.0 GPA. After writing the essay, I was able to have my mom and sister review it to the point of perfection, and contacted a high school teacher and my boss for letters of recommendation, and after a month I heard from the honors office—I had been accepted. This had pushed me one step closer to fulfilling my dream of attending UCLA. After finishing my first semester, I realized that although I had studied hard, I hadn’t studied hard enough. I wasn’t satisfied with my grades and I realized that I could no longer afford to play around. If I wanted to transfer out of community college within two years, I would really have to buckle down and get good grades. My second semester was a lot more intense. Just as I thought things were cooling down between the six classes and two honors portions I was taking, tests and essays would appear. It was a never-ending process. The past sixteen weeks of my life, I reduced work to about ten hours a week, I got over socializing with the same people, and I began to realize that school was really what I should focus on. I spent almost every night doing something school related. The essays were forever lasting and the tests were long and hard, but in the end it was all worth it. My family pushed me and encouraged me every step of the way. Now, I am seventeen and I have finished my first year of college. I am happy with my results and my hard work has paid off. I am truly satisfied that I can sit back and relax because now it is summer, and although I may have work and summer school, I do it because I want too, not because I have too. I have my mind driven to transfer from community college in another year, and with the help of the IGETC and Honors Scholar Program, I am on my way…


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