Gilbert Sarbia begins his college experience at SDSU as the first person in his family to pursue higher education.
Gilbert Sarabia. Photo by Paige Nelson.
We all remember the first day of college. It was the first day we stepped into our future, the day we became independent. Now, there are new batches of freshmen experiencing these same milestones at San Diego State.
Gilbert Sarabia, a freshman and an Fernando Valley native, made a big transition moving to San Diego.
“It was a chance for me to get away from being at home in a pretty bad area back in Los Angeles,” Sarabia said.
Some of us can relate. He is the first member of his family to go to college, a very noticeable challenge and almost scary venture. Many parents of first-generation students tend to have a hard time relating to their children’s college experiences and can’t provide much advice or aid.
“I chose San Diego State because it is a
good environment, has the perfect weather
and when I came to visit I just felt like I was at home."
Thankfully, Sarabia was able to get into the Educational Opportunity Program. EOP helps low-income college students by providing tutoring, academic counseling, and a chance to get a $1,000 grant per year.
A brighter future
Sarabia’s journey to college began at San Fernando High School. “It wasn’t up until my second year in high school that I learned what college was. I didn’t know you had to apply, I didn’t even know what majors were,” Sarabia said. “So, as soon as I found that out, it was something to look forward to.”
The realization of a future and a new goal didn’t come easy. With no support system back home, there was a need to find an extra push. Another great program called Project Grad inspired Sarabia as well as guide him through the right direction toward college.
There wasn’t much debate about where Sarabia was going to attend. SDSU was his first choice. “I chose San Diego State because it is a good environment, has the perfect weather and when I came to visit I just felt like I was at home,” he said.
Before coming to SDSU, Sarabia, like every freshman anticipated move-in day, and experienced an array of emotions. Move-in day was on a hot Saturday morning, where heavily packed, long lines added to the nervous atmosphere of the day. As everyone settled in and met their roommates, a calming mood spread throughout the floors. Sarabia expected the worse moving in to Chapultepec Hall but said it was better than he expected.
Sarabia was set on his major from the very beginning. He plans on studying kinesiology with an emphasis in athletic training because he has always been involved in sports and athletic training. Sarabia is also interested in kinesiology because he is fascinated with the body and its muscular system.
Adapting to college can be a difficult process at times. Currently, Sarabia is taking four classes. His first college class was Introduction to Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, and the transition was difficult at first.
But once he got settled in, he loved it. One of the things about his classes he most enjoys is the friendliness of the professors. He is still trying to get used to the extra time he has compared to high school. It is easy to get distracted but he is working on organizing his time and staying on task.
Aside from academics, he hopes to check out a couple of organizations soon, including Future Athletic Trainers Society, MEChA, and the Martial Arts Club. Sarabia is also confident that he will make friends quickly since he is open to making friends.
The first week breezed by and Sarabia hopes to do well in his classes, but also wants to have fun and enjoy his time at SDSU. He endures homesickness once in a while and the worry of failing is ever-present, but he is glad he’s begun to build a great future for himself while his dream of becoming an athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Lakers gets closer.
This story originally appeared in The Daily Aztec.