My Citrus Story- Oscar Fernandez
As if they are now, and later they shall be.
There’s an old saying that whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. When I was 13 years old, my family moved to the United States. My lack of fluency in English forced me to work extra hard to become more proficient – all the while taking a full schedule of classes in junior high and high school. In my junior year, I was diagnosed with cancer and missed so much school that I had to be homeschooled.
Not surprisingly, moving from a home school environment to Citrus College was difficult. The radiation and chemotherapy treatments that arrested the cancer’s growth also affected my cognitive ability, so even though I placed into the basic skills classes in English and math, I struggled to learn. Although I was working harder than ever, I was on the verge of quitting school. I figured if the basic courses were that challenging, how would I ever make it through the more difficult courses in advanced mathematics and science?
Fortunately for me, some of my professors refused to let me give up. They arranged for me to get tutors and took extra time to go over the subject matter until I mastered it. My grades progressively improved, and I’m now excelling at even the most advanced coursework. Not only that, I served as a student senator for the Math and Engineering Departments and was also elected as student government vice-president.
Based on my academic and extracurricular achievements, I received a Citrus STEM program internship at CSU Fullerton, where I conducted cancer research and acquired advanced skills that will help me in the future. With an associate’s degree in biology, general chemistry, and calculus, I hope to transfer to UC Santa Barbara or UCLA and obtain a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. My goal is to eventually earn a doctorate in medicine and move into clinical research in oncology and hematology. Persevering through hardships not only gave me a vision for the future, but also the confidence to believe that achieving all my goals was possible.
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My Citrus Story is funded in part by grants supporting the College Success program, and has been developed in cooperation with the Citrus College Foundation and the Citrus College Board of Trustees. Copyright © 2010, Citrus College