“All these students are able to take this time to focus on what they want their futures to look like. They are able to ask us questions and since we’re also first generation students, we can be honest with them about their concerns,” said Raymundo Santacruz, a freshman here at Sonoma State.
Leading and instructing a group of 110 high schoolers can be seen as a big task for the SSU students, but they had a successful day by using the communication tools they have learned in their leadership class. Their professor, Bruce Peterson, emphasized that “the SSU students were very well prepared for this day.” They did an excellent job and learned a lot.
The high school students also learned a lot. Exposing high school freshmen to the idea of higher education can have long lasting effects that goes far beyond their freshman year. Not only does the exposure inspire the students to go to college, but it also provides them with valuable resources and tools to help them get to where they want to be. A college education is extremely important in this day and age; it opens countless doors in your desired field and provides you the tools in order to live a fulfilling and financially secure life.
Related: Read About Past Discovery Days
SSU leadership students led RCP students on a scavenger hunt throughout the campus, including hot spots on campus such as Maker Space in the Library. A college campus can seem daunting at first, but the scavenger hunt helps the students feel more connected to the campus. One of the students who attended Discovery Day, Yarelli, explained to me that, “My friend and I are so inspired by this event. We’ve been talking a lot today about coming to Sonoma State and sharing a dorm together!”
The idea of college can be daunting. How do you apply? What majors are offered at Sonoma State? How can financial aid help me? Luckily for these freshmen, Discovery Day is here to help with all their concerns and questions. “A lot of students don’t think college is an option for them financially, but being a first generation student myself allows me to share from personal experience that financial aid is here to help them,” said Juliana, a freshman in SSU’s COMS 160 service-learning class.
Discovery Day is an opportunity for freshman students at Roseland Collegiate Prep (RCP) to come to Sonoma State’s campus to explore what higher education can offer them. They are paired with students in one of Sonoma State’s service-learning classes who guide them through the campus, going into detail of what Sonoma State can offer them. The Sonoma State students are able to share their college experiences with these freshman and pass down any wisdom they feel would benefit them. Topics such as class registration, Greek life, financial aid, and sports are all covered. The students are also introduced to EOP, a campus program that encourages first generation students to pursue a higher education and provides the necessary assistance to those that need it.
“My favorite part about Discovery Day was discovering all the exciting things on campus. My questions regarding financial aid, dorming, and on-campus organizations have all been answered,” said Kimberly, a freshman at RCP.
The most rewarding part of the day is knowing that the high school students leave feeling genuinely inspired to continue their education. It is important for them to know that despite their background or financial status, there are always ways to go to college.