It was June 21, 2011, at the Hollywood Bowl. I wore a red choir robe as I sat on the stage looking out into the crowd. The sun was burning my face and I had never been so ready to go. All of a sudden I heard my name coming from the podium speaker, “Jasmine Gibson”, said Principal Hagan. At that moment, I knew my hand would no longer be held, I was officially a high school graduate. The feeling of excitement, optimism and fear came rushing through my body at once. It was a bittersweet moment.
I never thought I was smart enough or capable of earning a college degree. I mean I thought about it, I imagined it, but it was only a dream that felt distant. I decided to give that distant dream a chance.
I enrolled at West Los Angeles College (WLAC) in August 2011. This was my only option because no university was going to accept me with my high school grade point average. Enrolling in college was a big step for me.
I come from a background where higher education isn’t discussed nor attempted. I thought maybe I would eventually drop out of community college because that is what I have seen in my surroundings. Little did I know WLAC would be the pathway to my success, the foundation of my future and the beginning of a new me.
Community college was a strengths test. It built my mental muscle and my perseverance to succeed. I was welcomed by helpful advisors and administrators who helped me navigate through the system, and most importantly, motivated me with assuring words. I was able to earn an associate degree and transfer to a university. After accomplishing what I thought was the impossible, I felt there was nothing I could not do. The world was mine to take.
I transferred to Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. Throughout the first few weeks of being at the university I thought to myself, “what am I doing here?” “what am I to do?” “I made it to a university?”. These were thoughts of disbelief because I was so conditioned in my negative thinking about my capabilities. As the semester progressed my mind began to expand. Expand with knowledge and new ways of thinking. I became innovative, I learned that I am a creative individual and my voice matters.
Sure, these may be things we think to ourselves but college asks that you find yourself, your voice and express it. Now that I am in my final semester of college I look back to 2011 where I first began my journey, and I am thankful for every step of the way. I have become strong, confident and professional through the help of professors, advisors, workshops and my fellow classmates. In high school, they tell you your hand will no longer be held, but what they don’t tell you is, there are people who are on your side pushing you to the finish line.
Jasmine Gibson is a few months away from earning her bachelor's degree in communications. She is serving as our outreach intern throughout the Fall semester.