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Stacey - Class of 2020

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Soledad F. - Class of 2020

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Soledad F. Portrait.jpeg

University of California, Riverside

BA in Sociology, Law and Society

Throughout my college experience I learned about the importance in both academic and personal growth. Expanding your horizons in multiple areas allows you to learn more about yourself and the communities around you.


Not only did attending college allow me to discover new ideas, perspectives, and opportunities for success, but it also taught me the importance in seeking bigger dreams in order to make the positive social changes I want to see in the future.

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

One highlight about the 2020 academic year was being introduced to multiple law courses and
activities with focused on topics that are more prevalent now than ever before. Growing my
knowledge about the justice system and how it is implemented in our world today has given me a
better understanding of what to expect for my future career and has also allowed me bring
awareness to the social issues we face today.


That said, I can say that graduating with the necessary qualifications needed to take the next steps in my career path has definitely been the biggest highlight and accomplishment of my 2020 academic year.

What did you learn about yourself?

As a first generation college student, I was amazed about the different academic areas UC Riverside had to offer. Coming into college with no prior knowledge as to how to navigate through the experience was quite difficult the first two years.


However, with the various challenges I faced I was able to retain a lot of information on new topics learned in different courses. With the information I learned, I was able to apply much of it to my social life and gained new perspectives about the current issues in the world.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?

Explore the many opportunities and classes your college has to offer. If attending a college with a decided major, do not be afraid to explore other areas of study. Expanding your horizons will bring you positive knowledge about the world around you and will keep you better informed in areas unknown to you. There are so many interesting and wonderful things to learn about that will definitely change your perspective and character for the better.

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

Knowing that someone is supporting you throughout your college journey is a wonderful thing.

Being a Bella Scholar allowed me to keep track of my academic stance and encouraged me to maintain a good GPA even when faced with challenges. Financially, the Bella Scholar Foundation helped me attend UCR without the need of taking out major loans which I am incredibly thankful for. This was an opportunity that was not taken for granted and thanks to their help, I was able to graduate with my desired degree.

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

A short term goal I have is to seek a great internship that will teach me about any area of law or simply give me any kind of knowledge that will help me gain the experience needed to succeed in my future career.


On the other hand, a long term goal I have is to get accepted into a law school and obtain a degree in Public and Family law.

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

The greatest challenge I faced was adapting to the college life on my own. Being a first generation student, I did not start off college with the appropriate guidance and therefore I encountered many challenges such as changing majors, failing classes, and having a hard time with my social life.


Overcoming these issues was a step I had to take by taking a chance in social gatherings and reaching out the various programs UCR had to offer. Taking that initial step in seeking assistance without fear, helped in bettering my academic progress and increasing my social network.

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?

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to reconsider my degree and explore the social academics at UCR.


In addition to that, I would tell myself that it is okay to reach out to different groups that are meant to help you when facing difficulties. Although one may think that doing everything all by themselves is the way to go, sometimes it is okay to ask for help when things become difficult. If I could do-over, I would have joined different social groups and attended meetings meant to help me achieve the goals I had set for myself.

What were your proudest accomplishments or highlights from attending college?

My proudest accomplishment from attending UCR is graduating with my desired degree. Not only would that have not been possible without the support of my family and the Bella Foundation but of the support of the friends I made along the way. 

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