Which community college are you currently attending?

Cypress Community College

Photo Credit: Cypress Community College

Which program are you pursuing and what about the subject intrigues you most?

I’m currently pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology and looking to do a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. There are so many things that draw me to these fields of studies, however, the most fascinating element of Anthropology for me is that it plays a central role during a time where recognizing and understanding diverse ways of thinking and seeing the world are of great social, political, and economic importance. It contributes to our ongoing, modern-day understanding of an already very globalized world, is pivotal in removing pre-existing or imaginary cultural divides, and ultimately helps us to develop a deeper, more empathic understanding of those who are different than us. As Eric Wolf said, it is “‘the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities”.

What are your education and career aspirations?

Given Anthropology often involves a heavy amount of research, I will likely pursue a Masters degree after I complete my B.A. There are so many paths one can take with this field, but what interests me the most at this time is helping other students attain their goals in higher education, help reduce academic disparities in educational equity by allowing thorough quantitative and qualitative serve as a guide for institutional policy and decision making. There are far too many students out there like myself who have had highly non-traditional path, and if I can work in helping them whether at an individual through academic counseling or even at a more local level, I am all for it. I also can see myself continuing to work in the non-profit sector when I’m done with school.

What is a fun fact about you that few people know?

I think it’s safe to say that relaxing ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos are all the hype these days on Youtube. However, very few people know I have secretly been falling asleep to these kinds of videos (mostly the trigger ones and whispering rambles) every single day of my life since I first came across one back in 2013. That’s almost 8 years now!

What is your favorite book/movie/song and why?

My favorite book right now has got to be “Inward” by Yung Pueblo. It’s a collection of prose, poetry and quotes that are very thought-provoking and challenge the reader to look inwardly and dive deep into matters on self and unconditional love, healing and the power that exists in letting go of things that no longer serve you. I feel like I’ve been on a big healing journey myself lately and learning to unpack things and heal from traumas from the past, so I think it’s helped me a lot in doing that.

Photo Credit: readpoetry.com

Favorite movie of all time has got to be Shrek 2. The soundtrack is just amazing and I have watched it so much I probably know the script by now. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Japanese city pop music.

Tatsurō Yamashita is one of my favorite artists in particular with my favorite track being “Silent Screamer”. Just amazing.

What is your current favorite streaming binge and why?

I recently got the STARZ channel with my Prime account and I’ve been binge-watching American Gods. It’s this sort of surreal drama based on a book series that blends American modern-day life with other elements like Greek mythology – all told in this almost psychedelic-like road trip story about an emerging war taking place between Old Gods and New. It’s super interesting, and the way it’s filmed and the transitions between scenes are just amazing.

In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing?

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen since it’s really just cathartic for me. Not only do I enjoy trying new kinds of food but I love the entire process of getting there and actually making them. Sometimes the meals I make come out so tasty, and sometimes they don’t. I think that’s the fun part about it. There are so many flavor profiles, dishes, and things to try that I just never seem to get bored. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, discovering new places such as libraries that I hadn’t been to, restaurants, and other things.

How are you practicing self-care during this difficult time?

The biggest thing for me right now is making sure I’m checking in with how I am feeling. Whether that’s taking a walk and just actively thinking about how things went that week, or journaling it out. I tend to feel very disconnected from myself when I’m under a lot of stress, and given that this last year has not been easy for many of us I think it’s important to know that and to be able to take time for myself away from all the responsibilities when/if possible. Getting enough sleep to I think has been making a big difference.

How are you adjusting to remote life and what are your tips to stay motivated?

It’s ironic, really, in that I quit a full-time career in early education specifically to go back to school and take in-person classes since I never was a huge fan of the online learning environment. Yet here I am. At first, it was very difficult and I felt like I had made the wrong choice. I realized though, that it was just a matter of adapting and setting up a routine and an environment that was conducive to how I learn most effectively. This often looks like making a list of everything I need to do and rewarding myself when I get things done. I put everything on my phone calendar so I’m constantly reminded of what I need to get done and don’t drop the ball. Instrumental and classical music when I work keeps me focused on the task on hand, and I give myself breaks when I feel I need them.

As a Point Community College Scholarship Recipient, what is your message to other LGBTQ+ students?

As a queer, non-traditional, first-generation student who was the first in their family to go to college, I would just say to be as brave as you can possibly be and take those chances for that goal you have been trying to accomplish. Whether that’s finishing school, landing that new job, learning that new skill, or picking up that hobby you’ve been wanting to do, just go for it and embrace the challenges that may come along the way. I personally never thought that I would finally be here finishing my degree, or that I would have gotten the opportunity to become a Point Community College Scholar. It’s all still so unreal to me. Yet it was having a growth mindset though over a fixed one that has helped me to achieve those things and what has kept me continuously motivated despite all the adversity I have had to deal with. Remember that challenge and failure is not evidence of unintelligence but rather a platform from which you can continue to grow and learn. You are valid, you are worthy, and you have the capacity to accomplish whatever it is you put your mind to.

This post’s responses were submitted by Point Community College Scholarship Recipient Randy Rodriguez (He/Him/His and They/Them/Theirs).

Rodriguez is currently pursuing a degree in Anthropology at Cypress Community College. Read more about Randy here.

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