GEW Student of the Month for
Erika Molina, interviewed by Syndee Wood
Thanks for agreeing to meet with me, Erika. Can you tell the CSUSM GEW community about you? What brings you to CSUSM? Why this school?
I think it was out of luck. I was planning on going to a two year community college, but my parents said, “You need to go to a university.” So I’m here because of all the last minute prep I put in to get here, which wasn’t the best choice, I know. But I think if I were at a community college, I would be slacking off more, but since I am here, I am more on top of things.
And how does that make you feel?
It makes me feel like I am more focused on what I am going towards. Having more time management has allowed me focus more on how I’m going to manage my time after college, when I am a responsible adult, which apparently I’m already supposed to be.
What’s your major? Criminology and Spanish.
An interesting combination. Why that combo? Why those two?
It all started in middle school. I used to watch a lot of detective shows, and a lot of NCIS. After time, I began to analyze why I like the detective shows. I am a people person, and I have seen how they collaborate a lot in that field and how they help others, and I just like really helping people. I feel like it is more my background and who my parents are. They have a business and know a lot of people and I feel like that’s my background, to help people.
And as for Spanish, it is another tool that I have, that I should appreciate more, and so I kind of want to build another career out of it.
Can you say more about Spanish being a tool?
It helps me help others, knowing both English and Spanish. I am able to help others that don’t speak English. Knowing Spanish and knowing it somewhat well (and I think I need to know it better) has helped me help others. I think it is an advantage in our society today. It is more of an advantage because you have more connections with other people, and having connections with others is beneficial for, like, if you need a favor or a connection, you have other people, and that is always best.
Do you want to share anything about your family?
Let’s see. My parents have had a family business for the past twenty-eight years, here in the U.S. It is something to admire because they came from nothing to having something here in the United States. Although they do not speak English properly, they do understand it. That gives me an advantage because I can talk to them in English now and they can talk to others too.
My sister and I are ten years apart. my brother and I are nine years apart. they are both older. I think being so far apart in age is an advantage because my sister and brother have been like another set of parents. They keep track of me academically. It honestly helps a lot. Having them there for me has been a great part of my decision making. I took their opinions on the decision about whether or not to go to community college, which was cheaper. They were like “who cares about the money? It is your education first,” and that is why I came here.
Do you live here on campus?
I live at home actually. That was one of the pros to staying local and going to CSUSM. My parents were like, “look at it this way: you won;t have to pay any rent, you wont have to live with other people.” They lifted a lot off my shoulders. And they provide me with food, which is nice.
Let’s talk about your writing now.
My writing. Well. I wasn’t really a huge fan of it until, I want to say my senior year probably. That’s when I started to notice that I wasn’t as bad of a writer as I thought I was. I don’t think I’m a good writer, but I also don’t think I am a bad writer. I am sort of an in-between. Which is good.
Can you say more?
I think definitely taking Honors and AP classes played a tremendous role in my college success so far.
How so? Well, the structure of basically organizing your writing and connecting your ideas to what you’re gonna put on your paper in AP and Honors classes definitely helped me. I did take a regular English class my senior year, which is kind of a twist for me.
I think Honors and AP classes definitely portrayed college classes as scary and stressful. I was really scared in fall. I was stressed. My history class had a lot of essays and I was stressed, but that class made me realize how good my writing is. I got an A.
What is it that you think is strong about your writing?
Definitely the critical thinking part and throwing your opinion in there. I think that’s what I am best at. I don’t know what others think, but yeah that’s what I think.
I enjoyed the essays we read [in GEW class] because like I can connect to them. And the way we connect the So What? book to the curriculum helps me by clarifying where my weak points are, and I try to improve. I really enjoy having a voice in my essays. I didn’t really get that in the past, but now, I get it more in GEW class.
Okay, for this last question, I’d like you to fill in the blank. We did this on the first day in class, and I’d like you to do it again.
Interesting. I think it is very interesting. It can be such a thing as a judgment or being what you took from something that you read. Although it is not someone saying a speech, but it is more so like you feel someone’s voice is there in what they’re trying to get to. That’s what I enjoy about writing.
Thank you, Erika. I wanted to interview you for many reasons. One reason in particular is that I really enjoy the way you participate in class. You have a way on engaging the material that is rewarding and inspirational. I think your peers enjoy your take, and appreciate what you have to say. So I wanted to share you with the GEW and CSUSM community. Thanks for being a willing participant.
December 2017 - January 2018: Jaiden
October 2017: Maria