ONE OF YOUR PEOPLE PROJECT | GEAR UP WASHINGTON
Full Length College Conversation with Alanna, Davida, Kirsten, Ian
ABOUT UPWARD BOUND: The College of St. Scholastica's Upward Bound (UB) Program has been successfully providing motivation and post-secondary preparatory support to area high school students since 1993. Each year the UB Program works with 79 low-income, first-generation youth who have the desire and motivation necessary to successfully complete high school and go on to pursue a four-year college degree.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS: The panelists are Upward Bound graduates from the Duluth area. Panelists attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, The College of St. Scholastic, UW-Superior, Augsburg University, and The University of Chicago.
Full Length College Conversation
Watch the highlights: Click here
Hometown: Wrenshall, Minnesota
High School: Cloquet Senior High School
School: College of St. Scholastica
Year in School: Class of 2023
Major: Social work and psychology
Kristen’s Places: Cheerleading
Are you a first-generation student?: Yes
Reach out to Kirsten on: Instagram @kiki4046 and Snapchat @ Kiki.ashh
Hometown: Duluth, MN
Graduate School: University of Chicago
Undergrad: Augsburg University ('20)
High school: Duluth East 2016
Year in school: First year of grad school
Major: Clinical Social Work
Davida’s Places: TRiO support services, summer bridge scholarship, Pan-Afrikan student union, campus kitchen.
First Generation Student: Yes
Reach out to Davida on: Facebook Davida Fuller, email: email@example.com
Hometown: Orr, Minnesota
College: The College of St. Scholastica
High School: North Woods HS
Year in School: Class of 2023
Major: Educational Studies major and Psychology minor
Alanna’s Places: Softball, Classroom, Work
First Gen?: Yes
Reach out to Alanna on: Instagram @Alanna.Rutchasky
Hometown: Two Harbors
High School: Two Harbors High School
College: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Year in School: Class of 2021
Major: Finance, Marketing and Business Analytics
Ian's Places: Students Accounting and Finance Association, Carlson Live & Learn LLC (freshman year)
Reach out to Ian by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LINKS FROM CONVERSATION:
The College of St. Scholastica Softball: https://csssaints.com/index.aspx
Students Today, Leaders Forever: https://www2.css.edu/app/StudentActivities/ClubContact.cfm?id=147
St. Scholastica Clubs & Activities: http://www.css.edu/student-affairs/student-life/student-activities/clubs-and-organizations.html
President's Emerging Scholars Program:
Honors at UMN: https://honors.umn.edu/
UMN Outdoors Club: https://www.facebook.com/UMN-Outdoors-Club-116751312338286/
Choral Ensembles: https://www.uwsuper.edu/acaddept/music/ensembles/choir/index.cfm
College Conversation Breakdown
Hashtag Directory: #WhoIs #Background #highschool #collegesearch #collegeselection #advice #people #places #patience #firstgen #payingforcollege #family #collegeapplication #commuterstudent #homesickness #scholarship #financialaid #gettinghelp #academics #athletics #introvert #makingfriends #dating #relationships #firstyear #studentsuccess #badgrades #gettinghelp #academics #studentsuccess #studentsupport #TRIO #onlinelearning #uncomfortable #COVID #mentalhealth #collegecounseling #changingmajors #roommates #therapy #upwardbound #moving #essay #studentloans
2:44 - “What were you like in High School?” John says he was very quiet in HS he had a small group of friends he worked a lot 20+ hrs per week all through HS. He says he had an okay time in HS, got by just fine with his friends. Towards the end he felt like he really wanted to move on and get to college. #WhoIs #Background #highschool
4:42 - Samantha says she was a quiet person in High School. She was involved with the choir. #WhoIs #Background #highschool
6:10 - Isaac also went to cloquet, he was in cross country and track for all 4 years, he also joined the fall musical, he was on student council and in NHS. He still runs at St. Scholastica. CSS is D3 so there wasn’t any formal recruiting process, but the coach thought he’d be good for the team and talked to him about joining. Harlan talks about the importance of places. #WhoIs #Background #highschool #places
8:17 - Lexie says she was very comfortable in HS, kept the same friends from elementary school, she was active in DECA and student council, as well as an online magazine. #WhoIs #Background #highschool
9:18 - Lexie talks about when she thought of going to college. Was always her biggest dream, has been planning for it as long as she can remember, always changed her mind on where she wanted to go. U Wisconsin - Eau Claire was always on her list “best bang for your buck” she thought. She realized she wanted to go somewhere bigger and stay in minnesota. #collegesearch #collegeselection
10:05 - Lexie says she had no idea what to expect in college, had no idea what was involved, had no idea about public vs private what clubs there are, all the different departments. She couldn’t visualize what that would all entail. “How would you help people understand that? '' Lexie says you should go on college tours, find people who go to that school online, ask people personally about that. “I was too shy to reach out, I didn't know anyone” Harlan asks her if she’s open to students reaching out and she confirms yes. #advice #collegesearch #people
11:50 - “John when did college look like it was something for you.??” he felt college was possible when he was going through upward bound during the 2nd year, it felt like a real prospect once he reached sophomore year, before that point it always felt like something so far out of his league he couldn't imagine it. He was born in the philippines, his family struggled to put food on the table. He couldn’t imagine being able to pay for school. #firstgen #payingforcollege #family
13:06 - John says his family always said there are 2 important things in life, family and schooling. But there was never a big push for college.
14:00 - John says Upward Bound overall was really helpful. They did a lot of college knowledge quizzes and he was getting a lot of those questions right. They showed him a lot of options to pay for college.
15:09 - Samantha says Upward Bound made the goal of college more achievable. She is currently paying some out of pocket but she’s able to manage it. She wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to continue with school because of COVID and she isn’t fond of online learning. But she is still attending and working through it. #upwardbound
16:47 - Isaac says college was always something subconsciously that he wanted to do. It was always a goal because his parents never went to college. His sister went to UWS and he was inspired by her and her success. Upward bound helped him realize the goal and think about what he wanted to major in etc. #upwardbound
18:17 “What was the application process like?” - Isaac says it was kind of a blur. He was more focused on moving on to the next phase of life, finishing high school and can't remember much of the application process. “Was there a more challenging part of the application?”
He says it was all pretty easy for him.
19:54 Isaac, “Why did you choose St. Scholastica and where did you apply?” - Isaac says the biggest factor was the financial aid he got from CSS and that he was able to commute from home. He didn’t really apply anywhere else because he didn’t think the application fee was worth it. It saved him a lot of stress being a freshman being close to home. #collegesearch #collegeapplication #applyingtocollege #commuterstudent
21:05 Isaac says on average he’s paying 4200 per semester. He also took out loans in addition to the aid. His parents helped him out until his junior year financially. #payingforcollege #studentloans
22:40 - Lexie talks about loans and scholarships. Her parents wanted her to go to CSS and live at home. She saved a lot and had to convince her parents she was going to the UMN. She isn’t taking out a lot in loans, she got some scholarships. She’s working and has an employee discount on her rent. #family #moving #payingforcollege #scholarships
24:35 - Lexie talks about specifics with scholarships. She applied to a lot of local scholarships, her HS class was small which really helped. She got the charles and myrtle stroud scholarship 4000 a year. Lawrence something scholarship 4500 per year, grace waterson scholarship 3500 this year 5000 last year. Superior shores scholarship, and a teaching scholarship, freshman year she got a research scholarship. She was able to reuse a few essays by tweaking them. She got rejected by many as well. #payingforcollege #scholarships #essay
26:50 - Lexie gives tips about loans - she says you have to be careful about loans, it’s really easy to just accept all the money they’ll give you. Look at how much you have to pay back after. But don’t be afraid. Apply to as many scholarships as you can. She has about 6000 in loans right now but when she graduates she’ll have about 10,000 or less in loans and payments of about 100 dollars a month. #studentloans #financialaid
28:29 - “John for you what was the most challenging part of going from HS to college?” Money has always been tight for his family and posed the biggest challenge. He worked a lot through HS to help his mother pay for housing. But paying for college became relatively easy because of scholarships and grants. All of his schooling was paid for for his first year. A couple scholarships ran out after the first year, he took some loans but just a couple thousand. Harlan asks if he won any gaming scholarships since he has a gaming chair and headset. He says he hasn’t explored the prospect. #family #firstgen #payingforcollege #scholarships #financialaid
30:43 - Samantha “how many schools did you apply to? Did you get in/get rejected?” She applied to only two schools, the first was Bemidji. It was her dream school for a while. It was small and not too far from home. She applied to UWS as well. She applied pretty late, but she changed her mind and figured she didn’t want to be too far from home, so she chose UWS. “Why didn’t you make the move to be further from home? Any second thoughts”. Her biggest thing was family. She is close with her mom and sister. She didn’t want to be gone for so long and only be home for the holidays. She says if she had gone further away she would have lived on campus and maybe made different friends being further away. #collegesearch #collegeapplication #collegeselection #family #homesickness
33:26 - John and Lexie “Was it scary moving away from home?”
For John he says it was a little easier for him because he didn’t have the best relationship with some family members so being independent was a healthy thing for him. He was happy to have that distance. #moving #family
34:10 - “Who helped you through the process outside your family?” John says upward bound helped a lot. The U offers a lot of help from counselors.
35:00 - John “What is PES?” It stands for President’s Emerging Scholars. It’s a program that helps struggling students. It encourages first year students and helps them through college, it offers events where you get accustomed to college life and has programs for food for those students that can’t afford it. They offered assistance with finding apartments, applying for things. The school looked at his background and scholarship essays, which is how he got into the program..#scholarship #financialaid #gettinghelp #academics #firstgen #people #places
37:00 - John details his past more. His mom is a single mom. She had a hard time making money for him and his sister. He worked more than 20 hrs a week during high school. It didn’t leave him much room for a social life. He saved up enough money to give to his little sister to pay for some day to day stuff. He felt going to college was a necessary move so that he could get a career and be in a better position to help out more later. #firstgen #family #payingforcollege
40:14 - “Did anyone have a FAFSA breakdown?”
Isaac found the FAFSA pretty daunting at the beginning. He was lost filling out the info. He asked his dad to help the first time. But after the first time, it was easier to do each year after. #FAFSA
41:30 - Samantha says that upward bound helped them through the FAFSA the first year. The 2nd time was easier to do with just her parents. “When upward bound is helping you through these things is there anything embarrassing or hard to talk about?”
Samantha says at first it was hard to talk about things like money trouble but once people got to know each other and open up since they knew they all came from similar backgrounds with money trouble etc. #upwardbound #FAFSA
42:23 - Isaac “was there any struggle from HS to college. Was there any struggle as part of Upward bound?”
Isaac says the hardest part was getting adjusted to college life, he didn’t really know what to expect academically.
43:33 - “Did you know a lot of people on campus already Lexie?”
Lexie says she went straight from HS and moved in with her Boyfriend directly, who is John, also on the panel. So they have been together and are still together. She says it is very difficult to make friends when you live off campus your first year. She doesn’t have regrets but she wouldn’t advise people to move in with a significant other right away for the first year of college because you miss out on dorm life and activities and making friends is a lot harder. #dating #relationships #firstyear #makingfriends
45:08 - Lexie “you’ve been on campus for 2 years and it looks like you’re involved.” She’s involved with the outdoor club and the honors program. She says it’s been nice since she comes from the north shore and after moving to the city it lets her meet other people that like being outdoors and feel more at home. She also joined the first year leadership institute. She met a lot of close friends there. #people #places #gettinginvolved #leadership
46:34 - John “were you able to find people and places and get involved”
He says a lot of his friends he met by hanging out in the common area of the droms. He also chose to be more outgoing in his classes which is where he met a lot of friends and people to talk to. #places #makingfriends
47:22 - Lexie “why isn’t it the best idea to move in with your SO”
She says she recommends people go into the dorms for the first year at least since it’s where everyone meets each other and solidifies friendships. Coming into college with someone you knew in HS makes it difficult to grow beyond your own HS self. #dating #relationships #advice #makingfriends
48:51 / 1:18:14 Isaac “had you already identified places? Did you have a plan?” He says he didn’t have a plan, he just kind of faked it till he made it and went with the flow. He found friends doing cross country and track. He turned to sports since that has always been his “place” throughout life. He met his best friend by running with the cross country team, the older people included him and took the initiative. He says he is shy and even though he’s a senior now, he’s always been a little shy and understands how timid freshmen might feel.
Harlan asks if anyone else is shy, everyone else raises their hands.
#makingfriends #people #places #athletics #introvert
53:25 - “when it comes to advising that shy student what are some tips to meet people?”
Isaac says even if you don’t make the first step, friends will naturally gravitate to you. You can sense who else is shy.
Samantha says you kind of have to step outside your comfort zone. A lot of her friends are from classes she’s in. She isn’t really involved in orgs on campus. She sat next to people she seemed comfortable with and started conversations with them. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation.
John says college is the place where you try new things. He made friends when he lived in the dorms for his first year. Someone outgoing on his floor introduced themselves and they started hanging out.
Lexie says to all introverts you should find an extrovert. Find someone who is talkative and can do some of the talking for you and expand the social group.
Harlan points out how Isaac and Lexie are kind of opposites in how their tracks have gone. Isaac decided to stay close to home, lexie moved away. Isaac finds other shy people, Lexie looks for the extrovert. #makingfriends #people #places #introvert
59:41 - “Is there anyone who struggled in the classroom?”
Isaac says his most challenging year was his sophomore year. That's when he started taking more classes relating to his major, exercise physiology. It really challenged him and his study habits. His classes that year really were challenging. In that fall semester he had his lowest GPA he had ever gotten. It was an overwhelming and stressful time. His physics professor and the TA for physics made him sign an academic contract to improve his grades and spend time in their offices. Because of that, it really helped improve his grades and his trajectory in school.
Harlan asks “why do you think that teacher cared so much to bend the rules for you” Isaac says he thinks she saw potential in him and knew he could do better. Isaac adds that he felt a lot of pressure in athletics as well because he performed quite well in Freshman year and had built of an expectation for how he needed to perform in sophomore year. It all pooled together and made him sort of implode. His race times were getting affected. He visited a student support counselor which helped a lot, he was able to share things he wasn’t sharing with anyone else. He also talked with his coach who reassured him he wasn’t expecting anything more than him trying his best. His friends were also supportive. #academics #studentsuccess #badgrades #gettinghelp
1:07:14 - Samantha says she is involved with Trio at UWS. If you need help they’re there. She says she missed a due date for something and one of her advisors emailed her right away about it. She found the program because she was involved in upward bound so that’s how she got involved with Trio. Also during the welcome weekend they had a booth. #academics #gettinghelp #studentsuccess #studentsupport #TRIO
1:11:06 - “Samantha, do you have a most uncomfortable experience?” she says it was probably when classes were all suddenly shifted to online learning. Being stuck at home with everything closed down was not easy. She didn’t live on campus but was living with some other upward bound people, one of whom she was having some difficulties with. Her teachers were supportive and gave her extensions. Her psychology professor was especially helpful. #onlinelearning #academics #uncomfortable #COVID #College
1:14:04 - Lexie “what’s your most uncomfortable experience?” She says it’s less of a one time experience and more general but her spring semester of freshman year was very difficult. She was someone else in HS and had all these expectations of who she thought she was going to be in college. She thought she was going to be this super capable poli-sci major with 5 majors and 5 internships etc. she was questioning who she was and what she wanted from college. She didn’t know why she was in college and what she wanted to do. Then COVID hit. Her friend and her had planned to travel for a month in Europe, that was the one big thing that she was looking forward to. That trip obviously got canceled so that was another downer. She has been grappling with her identity and figuring out what she wants. #uncomfortablemoment #firstyear #stress
1:15:40 - “If you could go back in time what would you tell HS Lexie?” she says she’d tell herself to prepare to change, she says she wasn’t ready for change. She lives with John, became good friends with her coworkers, and her best friend now lives in the same building so she has a good group supporting her.
Harlan talks to Lexie and talks about giving yourself permission to want something, even if just for a month or three months. Want something, try it for a while and just be present. #highschool #advice
1:18:40 - “What’s next for you Isaac?”
Isaac says he wants to take a gap year between undergrad and grad school. He’ll try to get a job or an internship. He wants to get his masters in exercise physiology.
1:19:43 - “ John what was your most uncomfortable experience?” John says in his sophomore year his mental health started to plummet badly. Schooling took a back seat and he failed a class. He was always a straight A honors student so it was a tough hit. He had to reassess. He switched from being pre-med to computer science. He went and got therapy. He said he had never gotten therapy before because culturally it was seen as weak if you had to seek help. He says Lexie really helped him. He says getting helped changed everything. His goals have changed and he evaluated what he actually wants to do and likes. He enjoys computers, putting them together and writing code. #gettinghelp #mentalhealth #collegecounseling #academics
1:23:42 - Samantha “What fills you with joy?”
She says she works at a Super One (food store). She loves the people she works with and loves her job, she wouldn’t change anything. It’s like one big family. Most everyone is a college student and they all get together. #people #places
1:25:18 - Lexie what makes you happy?” - She said she finally declared an english major. She realized she needed to study what she’s passionate about. She thought she couldn’t do something like that before because she didn’t think English majors would make that much money etc. But she’s much happier and successful studying something she’s interested in. #changingmajors #academics #studentsuccess #advice
1:26:09 - John - John says he was really introverted in HS. He rarely went out with friends or talked to people. But his experiences in college made him more extroverted he was able to break out of his shell, he likes meeting new people
1:27:14 - Isaac - In sophomore year during that time of struggle, he was able to get an A on his final exam, making that big jump of recovery academically really gave him confidence. He still has that test with him as a reminder that he can do anything. #studentsuccess
1:28:30 - “If you could go back in time and give HS you a top what would you tell you?”
Samantha says do not dorm or get an apartment with your friend. She recommends getting out of your shell and trying to live with someone new. Most campuses give you a test and you match with someone.
#roommates #uncomfortable #advice
1:29:14 - Isaac says he would tell himself to take a step back when things get overwhelming.
1:30:40 - John says he used to pride himself on independence and that he did everything himself, he says he’d tell himself not to do that. Take advantage of the support systems you have, let people help. If you are prideful and independent just know there are people that want to help. #gettinghelp #mentalhealth #therapy #advice
Harlan clarifies that people can reach out to panelists
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