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Student Life in Upward Bound

Volume 1; Issue 2; April 2nd, 2019

During the last three years, I’ve been participating in the Occidental Upward Bound program. This program helps low-income, first generation college students. It offers tutoring throughout the academic year and a summer residential five-week program. During the academic year, Occidental Upward Bound provides classes, takes students on college trips, and gives presentations on various topics, such as how to do FAFSA and college applications. These sessions involve different classes, including math, tutoring, colleges tips, and a STEM program has recently been added. Seniors work on their college applications and other college related work. Math classes, tutoring or workshops are attended by the lower classmen.

If eligible, students may participate in the summer residential program, where they will dorm on the campus with their peers.

The first time I had learned about Upward Bound when I was a Freshman. One of my teammates from my Mock Trial team had given me an insight on the program, and I had later learned more about it from two staff members from the program. After learning about what the program had provided, I decided to join the program. This program offers a residential program in which we get a taste of the life of a college student. This consisted of moving into a dorm, attending two classes and tutoring, participating in a variety of events, and going on college tours. Getting to know my peers, obtaining new skills, and experiencing the life of a college student were amazing opportunities to have. Being able to attend college fairs and go on college trips has helped open my mind to what kind of possibilities are in my future.

My first summer I had my own room, which was nerve-wracking at first since I have never had my own room before. The first day I moved in was exciting. I saw a few familiar faces, some were friends I made during the academic year and others I spoke solemnly to. My family helped me unpack and set up some of my stuff together. Each room has a small fridge, a microwave, a closet, a sink and mirror, and 1-3 beds, depending on how big the room is. Shortly after moving in, students were escorted outside to do bonding games. The rest of the summer was kind of a blur; it went by pretty fast. It was filled with rigorous classes, eating a lot of food in the dining hall, staying up late to finish homework, and falling asleep in class multiple times.

Although the summer was difficult, it taught me to open up to others more and to manage my time. I had especially enjoyed the various activities we had, such as going to Raging Waters for the first time, watching fireworks on top of a hill, and going on college trips. I participated in the program again the two following summers, each year being as rigorous and delightful as the last. My last summer we watched Ant-man and the Wasp as a surprise activity, which was amazing. After watching the movie, we headed back to the college and watched a short video of the summer. There were times when I didn’t want to be in the program. Teachers had given us large amounts of homework to do that were due the next day, we had to participate in dances, and we had to interact with one another. And being an introvert, I wasn’t very fond of this. Occidental Upward Bound has helped me develop new skills that I can apply at school. Overall, the program has changed me into a better person and has helped me develop new skills that I can apply inside and outside of a learning environment.

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