My name is Sabrina Holguin, I am Hispanic and a first generation college student. Being a first generation college student I did not know what to expect. I chose to move away from home to attend California State University San Marcos. Being a first time freshman and from out of the area I thought I was required to live at the QUAD my first year. This became an issue because it became difficult to afford. I was fully dependent on my financial aid to cover all of my expenses, as my mother was unable to support me financially. Before beginning my third year, I had an issue with my financial aid award package. The semester start date was getting close and I had yet to receive my financial aid package. I called the financial aid office several times but every time was told to just keep waiting. It was very scary and at that point I thought I had to drop out and take a semester off.
A program like PASO would have been very beneficial to have my first year of college. It would have helped to have someone to reach out to when issues such as financial aid and housing expenses arose. My family did not know how to help me because they never attended college. PASO would have been a “safe haven” for me to go to when needing any type of help. It would have also been a place for me to connect with other individuals on campus like myself.
My own experience as a freshman keeps me motivated to help all PASO Scholars. Today as a PASO Ambassador, I work to create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable coming for assistance. I am striving to be that person I needed when I was going through my own personal issues. Working with a great team has enabled us to build a center where individuals like myself have a place to always call “home” at CSUSM.