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Been There, Done That: An Alumna’s Advice for Current Students

Alumni Voices is a new series to share the stories, experiences, and perspectives of our 3,400+ Aspire alumni. Enjoy!

With our Aspire Seniors only 2 months away from graduation, we sat down with Aspire Alumna Jocelyn Cachux to ask her if she had any advice or experiences she’d like to share.  

First off, hi, Jocelyn!  Thanks for chatting with us.  Tell us what you’ve been up to since you graduated from Aspire’s East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy in 2011.

As a first generation, mujer low-income student of color, I knew earning a degree was my ticket up, and that I would have more doors opening doors of opportunity in the future.  After graduating high school I attended the University of California – Santa Barbara where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Chicano/a/Latino/a Studies. Since then I’ve been working as a Content Operations Product Manager with Nearpod Inc., an education tech company.  

Our current Seniors are just 2 months away from high school graduation.  What are a couple of pieces of advice you have for those that are planning on attending college?

  • Find a way to pay for college.  Constantly look up scholarships, especially local scholarships.  Even if it’s $200. That matters. I went to a local mortuary asking if they had scholarships – they didn’t but he wrote me a $300 check right there!  Be creative in your search.
  • Visit the college campus you want to attend.  It helps make the selection process so much easier.  You’ll feel if it’s right for you when you’re there.
  • See if there is a transitional program at your intended college over the summer and participate in it.  I did one called Step, and it was incredibly beneficial to me. I had 10 friends from that program that I then lived with in the dorms.
  • Explore internship opportunities in a career you are passionate about or if you are undecided “shop” around. Having professional experience of what it’s like of working in an office or on the field is critical.  It’s good to know what you like and what you don’t. Embrace every opportunity as a learning moment.

Thanks, Jocelyn, for sharing your advice.  We’re thankful for you, and we’re proud of you.  Can’t wait to hear more from you in the future!