Stacey - Class of 2020

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Henry K. - Class of 2020

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University of California, Berkeley

BS in Data Science

It never hurts to ask for help.

Going into college, I wanted to be independent in my academics and personal life. However, I learned that leaning on others, whether it's your friends or TAs, is priceless. This is especially important in college where schools have a lot of resources that are being funded by your tuition.

Tell us about the highlights of this academic year 2020, or accomplishments.

My highlight of this academic year was getting through it. It has been a hard year with so many things going on that have just been extremely exhausting mentally and emotionally. Being able to close my academic year with just knowing I passed has been more than enough.

What did you learn about yourself?

College gave me the space that I needed in order to self reflect and learn more about myself. I've been able to use that to unpack my trauma and evaluate my values. I now have a better understanding of who I am and the impact I want to make on others.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?

It's okay to be vulnerable. I think growing up we're taught that vulnerability is weak, but being vulnerable means being open to help and making more connections. There are always people willing to help, you just need to be open to look for it.

How did being a Bella Scholar contribute to the success of achieving your goals?

Being able to not worry about tuition and my finances with school gave me a lot of flexibility in college. In addition to that, attending the Bella Foundation workshops and other events let me meet other Bella Scholars and learn about their experiences in college.

 

I am very grateful for being a Bella Scholar because it has provided a lot of support for me in ways that were better catered to my experience as a first generation college student.

Now that you have graduated, have you formulated any new short term/ long term goals?

My biggest goal right now is just to get a job and possibly even move out of the Bay Area as this is where I've been going to college for the last 4.5 years and has been my home for all of my life.

What was the greatest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it?

Balancing school with other aspects of my life was very difficult. On top of the new things I had to learn in making a home for myself in Berkeley, there was still school and everything else I had to continue to do that I did at home for my family.

 

I also began assessing my relationships and my past in regards to my mental health and had to confront my troubles there as well. This is all still a work in progress, but reaching out to others and getting services that I need have been very helpful in this journey.

If you could go back in time 4 years ago, what would you tell your 18 year old self? If you could do-over, what would you do differently?

I would tell myself to take more risks, whether it was talking more in a discussion or trying out for that club that seemed cool.

 

I spent a lot of time in my head thinking about worst case scenarios where I could've spent that energy just trying something new and meeting more people.

What were your proudest accomplishments or highlights from attending college?
  • I learned how to cook!

  • I was able to spend time working with schools that were similar to mine, mentoring them in computer science.

  • I made lots of life long connections and memories.

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