Jazmin Garcia standing in front of an illuminated sky background screen

The Story of Growth and Determination as an Online Scholar

  • BY Sam Balderas
  • December 7, 2023

Thousands of students attend Cal State East Bay every year, and among each of them is a unique story. All of them have carved their own path to get here and experience their time differently. One of those students is Jazmin Garcia. 

As a human development major with a specialty in early childhood development who hails from Los Angeles, this online student hasn't let distance or work hinder their drive for an education. For many students, in-person learning can be inaccessible for a number of reasons, and online degrees allow them to bridge the gap in their education, such was the case with Garcia. As a first-generation college student and the child of a single parent and immigrant from Durango, Mexico, their road to East Bay has been far longer than just Carlos Bee Boulevard. According to Garcia, initially “I didn't believe I could be worthy of college nor did I believe that I would amount to anything because of how I was raised.” 

Though now they consider themselves “kind and eccentric,” in high school, Garcia described themself as “just trying to stay alive.” Despite that, they wanted above all else to continue learning, something they enjoyed greatly. Following their completion of an AA-T at Pasadena City College, Garcia felt as though a continued education was not accessible at the local universities in Los Angeles. Due to this, they decided to apply to East Bay as a transfer student. 

While at Pasadena, Garcia realized how much they love working in education and “seeing how kids go from tiny babies into fully capable human beings.” Their time as a human development major at East Bay has been informative and fulfilling, adding “my professors have been super understanding and kind to me, like when I'm confused on an assignment. I say ‘I'm so sorry, I don't know what I'm doing’ and they're like ‘It's okay’ and they explain it to me.”

As a junior in their first semester at East Bay, Garcia has been determined to stay involved, even though they are miles away, by becoming a peer mentor. Having never taken on anything as hands-on before, Garcia explained that they have learned a lot and been shown many new experiences in their time so far as a virtual mentor. Serving as a peer mentor has allowed them to feel more involved in campus life than they ever have before. 

With their first semester under their belt, Garcia had this advice for their younger self: “It's okay to go at your own pace. It's okay that you don't get your bachelor's within four years, ‘cause life happens and all you can do is just keep moving forward.” They added that it's not something that only applies to themselves. For other students, Garcia’s advice would be “It is challenging, but it's important to have goals for yourself and do what you can to achieve those goals. It doesn't really matter the time it takes to achieve them. So long as you finish, who cares, right?”

As the semester comes to a close, Garcia looks beyond their estimated graduation of fall 2024, saying, “I don't ever have a big picture kind of goal. I like to find what I want to go into and what kinds of jobs I'm interested in. At first I was thinking social worker, then I was thinking teacher, and now I'm thinking counselor. Aspirations are kind of always evolving as I pursue my education, so I go with the flow.” Not everything may go according to plan, but as Garcia puts it “just pick myself back up and say ‘that's okay, I’ll do something else now.’” 

Any transfer student knows the time and effort it can take to get your plans off the ground, and not everything goes the way you expect. Yet we Pioneers know you can always pick yourself up and keep going, just like Jazmin Garcia.