my entire college experience! + advice from a college graduate | community college to uc berkeley

my entire college experience! + advice from a college graduate | community college to uc berkeley

November 29, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


don’t be misled, i actually have water in this cup we’re here staying hydrated, not caffeinated hello my friends it’s nina and i am finally going to talk about my entire college experience as you may or may not know, i am- i was a college student i finished college, i graduated i didn’t drop out i was a student at uc berkeley for 2 years and i was also a community college student for 2 years i already talked about most of my college experience in another video but i’m going to talk a little more in depth about it in this video and also answer some questions i got from you guys on instagram about college but yea let’s go down memory lane and talk about it i’m gonna mention firsthand that i have a pretty international audience and so i’m talking about the american education system which might be confusing to people who aren’t in america if it is confusing, i’m sorry anything i might say about tuition or the value of college in society or any of that might be very different from you this is just from an american perspective and from someone who finished college and experienced all of it but to my american viewers i hope that this kind of makes sense or is a little bit helpful but anywho i’m gonna first talk about my timeline i’m gonna start the story off with my senior year of high school then i’ll move on to why i went to community college and then how i got into uc berkeley and then how i got here i also do wanna mention everyone’s college experience is subjective my experience is probably going to be very different from yours especially because i am a college graduate but i am also on youtube but i’m just gonna talk about it, maybe there’s something useful in it but i figured i have to talk about my college experience at some point so without further delay, here is my entire college experience so it all started- 2014? i applied for colleges in november of 2014 i was just like any other kid wishing to go to college just bc i heard everyone else wanting to go to college but personally my parents weren’t very cutthroat about college they were very chill about it i don’t know if that was a pro or a con basically in my immediate family, not including my cousins or whatever in my immediate family i am the first to finish college but rewinding back to 2014 i was basically applying for college but i had little idea of what i was doing because i grew up having a lot of freedom about what i should do in the future i didn’t have a clear idea of what i actually wanted to do i had a lot of freedom to live my life and explore my hobbies i really loved drawing and painting and being creative and all that i loved storywriting, hanging out with my friends i loved using my imagination, i loved watching movies i loved listening to music i was a good student but i wasn’t a very passionate teenager i was naturally a good student just because i got my stuff done there’s nothing much to say but i just got a’s and b’s in high school i was very attentive i showed up to school all the time on time being a good student vs being a passionate student were different things it was like, i knew i wanted to apply to college just because all my friends were doing it college was just in my brain, like instilled, drilled into my brain that i have to go to college but at the same time i had no idea who i was i didn’t know what i wanted to do i didn’t know what major i wanted to study i didn’t know my future at all so in junior year i took my sat and did whatever i needed to do to get into college but i didn’t really understand what i was doing i got a good score on the sat too, i got a 2010 back then when we were doing sat’s the highest score was a 2400 i know now it’s like a 1600 the only thing i really had going for me were a few clubs that i took in high school were my decent grades and a 4.something average because i had a bunch of AP classes that boosted my GPA and i had my sat score and i was crossing my fingers hoping for the best i don’t like thinking about my senior year of high school and applying for college because every time i think about it i just think about how unguided i was how i really kind of just- screwed up my application basically i’m not gonna get into full details, but my essay could’ve been a lil different my choice of major could’ve been a bit better i didn’t know what i wanted to do and that reflected in my application in here, in here, everywhere i just wasn’t ready for college and i didn’t realize it i applied to almost all the UCs and i did do the common application and apply for some private universities and smaller universities i tried to do some art schools but then i was also unconfident about my portfolio and whatever which is also sad to think about because i loved drawing and painting and all that i loved my art classes but at the same time i wasn’t passionate enough where i had a strong portfolio which gets you into an art school so all in all it was a pretty difficult process but i was going through the motions and just going through it in my mind i thought one college will accept me, i’ll just go there i think in high school i wasn’t thinking a lot for myself i kind of just existed and floated around trying to get through each day i didn’t necessarily have goals or desires at the time i didn’t deal with my insecurities or problems in life or really have some sort of communication with myself i would go to school, be a good student and then come home, get stuff done and then go to school again, blah blah blah and so that really took a toll on my college application process and in 2015 when we finally got our college results that is kind of when reality started to kind of hit me i did not get into the schools that i wanted to go to which were basically the schools that everyone talks about and i got into a few schools but they were not really schools that i wanted to go to they were kind of just back up plans i got into a few schools with scholarships but again it wasn’t necessarily the plan that i wanted even though i didn’t really have a plan so that is when reality hit, like oh.. hmm maybe i should’ve kind of figured things out a little bit more maybe i should’ve really researched what i was trying to get myself into and so a plan was basically to go to these schools that i got into but i didn’t have this heart for and then later on i finally learned about community college community college was not a plan, ever because no one (i knew) ever talked about it i only got into the idea of going to community college when i found out that my friend was going and then i was like huh that is also an option but now that reality was hitting and i didn’t have a lot of options i really had to think about what i wanted to do for the next 4 years community college became an option and i talked to my parents about it the conversation about it was actually nice just because as i’ve said before they didn’t pressure me to get into a good school obviously i wanted to make them proud but going to a university is a huge commitment it is literally four years of your life or 10 years depending on what you’re studying it might be 4 to 10 i also wanna mention that college is not the path for everyone and that’s something that i wish i had known as a college student but i did more research on community college and that’s when i figured out that you can transfer to another university in two years if you are on time obviously you can also take 3, 4, whatever many years you need but you can transfer in two years and you can finish your entire education within 4 years just like everyone else and so i was like why didn’t i know about this earlier because personally for me i wasn’t ready and there’s a lot of people who aren’t ready there are also lots of people who are ready for college right after high school as you can see millions of students go straight into college right after high school but more and more community college started to become a better solution for me because i didn’t want to throw myself into a school i didn’t have the heart for and also i learned about the whole financial thing where literally community college you’re not spending that much money now these days your first two years are free apparently but even then back then the tuition wasn’t even bad it was probably the cost of a few college books from a university but the tuition wasn’t bad and i’d be saving much more money i feel like it’d be time for me to explore my options and really get myself together and find out what i really wanted to study because personally for me i did want to pursue a further education not everyone needs that not everyone needs college not everyone needs college for their career society is very different now even if you do go to college it doesn’t guarantee a career because society is competitive but personally i wanted to experience it and i wanted to complete my higher education that was my desire and so in the end community college did become my choice and my parents were actually very relieved i am very fortunate that it was a good communication that they were supportive of my choice i was very thankful that they didn’t think going to university was the only solution and that any other solution wasn’t a solution that i wasn’t throwing my life away that my identity didn’t revolve around me going to a university oh man i don’t remember my community college life that well i can’t remember my classes that well but i know in community college, that is the time, if you’re planning to transfer that is the time to take care of all your general education requirements i highly recommend that you try to finish every single requirement in community college before you transfer because transferring is a process it has its pros and cons compared to going to a university for 4 years i was in community college for 2 years so 4 semesters because we were on a semester system i took about 4 to 5 classes per semester i’m pretty sure it was 5 each i took english, i took one semester of math i knew this time i wanted to do some kind of liberal arts major just because that’s what i’m interested in in high school i actually considered more stem-like majors when i was a senior in high school my major that i applied for was computer science we don’t talk about her but now i knew i wanted to do a major that revolved around liberal arts but i was also considering art i took my science requirements i took a public speaking class which kind of drove me towards my major that i chose in uc berkeley which was media studies which is basically like mass communications but more focused on media i was pretty daring in community college i remember in my geography class we had an opportunity to go on a class trip for extra credit points and other things and i was like i’ll go it was pretty far from home and i’d be gone for a few days with classmates that i didn’t know well i even signed up for camping instead of having a hotel it was quite a time and i was trying new things but community college was definitely a time for me to be my own person and i don’t think i would’ve had that experience had i gone to a 4 year university because i would be constantly surrounded by people i would still be in that kind of mental state where i would constantly compare myself to other people and knowing my personality as an introvert i probably would’ve shut myself away from people a lot just so i could have my personal time but in community college i didn’t have to commit myself to a college i could literally just go home and be by myself i journaled, i wrote in a diary, i exercised, i meditated i’m sure you might be able to do that in a university as well but personally for me i was glad that i had so much freedom to really figure myself out it was kind of like a gap year, or two gap years but i was also studying and working towards transferring at the same time and eventually in 2016 i finally had much more confidence in myself to apply for universities again and this time i knew what major i wanted to study i was definitely interested in content creation whether that was at the time short films or writing, using my imagination i kind of had a better idea of what i wanted to talk about in my application and what i wanted to offer when i went to university the biggest thing i think about applying for university is that and which basically is why college isn’t for everyone applying for college, it’s better if you have something to offer or the college will offer something to you you have to ask yourself if going to a university is going to benefit you if you want to meet like-minded people if you wanna learn something you can’t learn from the real world if you want these connections if you want access to internships or whatever that will get you to your job that kind of stuff that is what you have to consider when you apply for college and for a lot of jobs you don’t need that and that’s why college really isn’t for everyone but personally for me in my world here i applied for colleges again and i was just definitely a lil bit more determined this time i was so determined and confident that i only applied for 3 schools i applied to uc berkeley obviously i applied for ucla and uc davis those were my top 3 schools i applied with a major that actually mattered to me and i was more connected to myself that that reflected onto my application after application, in april/may of 2017 that is when our results came and i found out that i got into all 3 of the schools that i wanted to get into this time ultimately i did choose uc berkeley because i was born in berkeley i always heard about uc berkeley it is part of my family my aunt graduated from uc berkeley the major was basically made for me and so i decided on uc berkeley as a media studies major yay and so that brings us to 2017 i transferred to uc berkeley and started on august 2017 i have to mention one kind of con about uc berkeley which is that you don’t have your major, yet you have to declare when you get there like my friend who transferred she got into her school and she got into her major just like that she didn’t have to declare or anything she was just in her major but i still had to declare it and it was kind of a process because media studies at uc berkeley it was said to be pretty difficult to get into just because it’s very competitive and a lot of people wanted the major so i had to work for it i wasn’t able to rest yet and again this is why in the beginning that my experience is completely subjective because this is an experience that i had to go through but if anyone else is applying for media studies and is also transferring then maybe this story will resonate with you i had to really keep up with my classes i mean i obviously was going to try hard i wanted to keep my a’s and b’s oh shoot that’s what i did not mention in community college i got a 4.0 but anywho now i think i can talk about the classes i took at uc berkeley my first semester at uc berkeley i took a documentary class i really enjoyed that class it was a small class it was like 20 to 30 people i also had a required class for my major which was basically introduction to media studies and then i took a sociology class which was an elective for my major it was virtual communities and social media and it was one of my favorite classes it was so interesting i loved my major at uc berkeley i really learned a lot so i had those 3 classes and then i had one more but i can’t remember what it was ah it was a film production class i took a film production class and that was very helpful actually but at the time i wasn’t declared and another thing about my major since it is an impacted major i had to take a bunch of classes in order to declare first so i wasn’t able to declare for a couple of semesters i think it was two semesters in another thing is i had to consider another major just in case i didn’t get into media studies which is pretty scary because i decided on uc berkeley for media studies and if i couldn’t even get that major that would’ve been quite sad and my second major of choice was actually film studies so i was so close to being a film major at uc berkeley that would’ve been very different so that is why i took a bunch of film classes because media studies and film they have a lot of overlaps which was a good thing because just in case i didn’t get into media studies i was able to apply for film which wasn’t impacted but i was pretty set on media studies because i wanted to learn about the literal media aspect of it i do wanna mention that media studies is not really what you think it is it’s not a media production major there are a few classes on media production but it definitely was a lot more research heavy there was a lot of research going on and a lot of reading going on but it was interesting and it really offerred a lot to me it made me look at the world through multiple lenses but i was very close to being a film major in my second semester i applied to declare media studies i took a lower division intro to film class which was a prerequisite to declare film i also took spanish there was a language requirement for film so i took that and that semester i only took 3 classes because spanish took 5 units and so i would have a lot of units if i took 4 so i took 3 classes and my 3rd class was another core class for media studies it was visual communications and that class was very interesting it taught me how to storyboard and decode advertisements read the media not take everything in at surface level all that so that semester passed i obviously got into my major but now i had my major, now i could chill out a little bit and it was my senior year i think a con about transferring is that you do only have a short time there i had two years i basically graduated when i was a sophomore at uc berkeley even though i was a senior i felt like i was a sophomore you know, i was there for two years i didn’t explore my campus all that much i felt like i just got there and i already had to leave so that’s also something to consider when you’re transferring is that you’re not going to have all the time in the world to do what you want i wanted to study abroad, i wanted to take more classes i wanted to take unique classes not just classes that were required for my major but i didn’t have all that time because i only had 4 semesters and i did want to graduate early well not early but i wanted to graduate on time so that is something that i kind of had to settle with was that i didn’t have the fullest experience because i didn’t have the time my third semester i finally took a bunch of upper division classes that i needed for graduating and it was intense i took an international media class i took a sociology class which was called sociology of culture i took another core class on media theory and then i took i really, ugh i just ugh i’m clicking on my school app that i haven’t deleted yet because i am paranoid about deleting it so i took all those classes and then i took a media history class so i took those classes those were really interesting it was very intense and a lot of studying but very much worth it and then my last semester at uc berkeley which was also basically the time that you guys started to come into my life and basically be part of my college life my last semester at uc berkeley i took a research methods class and then i took a history class because i needed to finish a requirement that i never got around to doing and then i took another core class which was on media and democracy but it was an intense senior year because i had to fit in everything for my major so i think that is definitely something that you have to consider if you are transferring, is that you’re not going to be able to take all the classes that you want unless you really cram everything in but yea my last year at uc berkeley i was very much focused on my classes on my life and i was also doing youtube and my life was just going by so fast there then i graduated in may and here i am doing youtube full time and working on other things but now that you have a basic sense of my college career i think i’m going to do a small q&a just for things that i didn’t really address or things that you were curious about on instagram i just thought that it would be important to kind of give my background story first before i go into these questions were you mostly hanging out with friends at college or just went and did your own thing so i got a lot of questions about making friends how you deal with being alone and i got a lot of questions about whether i was hanging out with people or just doing my own thing whether you have friends or not you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your own because it’s a natural thing you know, you’re trying to get your life together you’re trying to find a job you’re trying to graduate you’re trying to manage everything that you have to juggle so it was actually pretty common to be alone at college when i went to lounges to study there would be tables of students but they weren’t friends they were just sitting together at a table everyone in college was basically just being alone together a lot of people are alone even if you are in a student organization and you have a social life it’s so common to be alone you’re going to see tables full of students studying by themselves and you’re going to just sit with them so you can study and it’s just like this natural culture of just asking someone hey can i sit here and you guys study and don’t even talk to each other so personally for me i was pretty much doing my own thing just because i was focused on my life i was focused on passing my classes i was by myself a lot in the library at cafes and also i was doing youtube i didn’t really have that in common with a lot of people i kind of kept it not really a secret, but it’s like i can’t just go and tell people oh i do youtube, you know i was very much just naturally on my own and i feel like even if you’re the most social person you’re going to want to have time alone obviously i did study with friends occasionally but even if we were together we’d either talk the entire time and not get things done or we wouldn’t talk to each other at all and it was just like i was studying by myself anyway but just know, coming from someone who literally experienced college a lot of it, you’re going to spend on your own i do wanna mention that in college rather than friends you’re going to have a lot of acquaintances and that is a completely okay thing to have almost all my friends who went to college they also had 5 to at most 10 friends maybe i’m gonna be realistic and say 1 to 10 friends basically but i know that if you are in a student organization such as a club, fraternity, sorority, that kind of stuff you’re naturally going to make friends because you are surrounded by people who are like-minded who probably have similar schedules as you probably spend a lot of time with them naturally they’re going to become your friends because, you know, you’re naturally going to be friendly to each other you also will find friends in your major you’ll just naturally find people that you have a lot of classes with because you guys are taking almost all the same classes which is a funny thing is that like hundreds, thousands of us are all taking kind of similar paths and living similar lives but anywho you’re going to make a lot of acquaintances and hopefully maybe some of those acquaintances become friends if you guys have similar schedules and you guys can study together or spend time outside of class together but otherwise again, people are busy in college when i was in high school i had the mindset of making friends with people because obviously you would make friends in high school but in college it definitely is a pretty fast-paced busy setting so not everyone has the motive or the desire to make friends because they don’t have the time for it you know, you have to really commit to it or you really have to get along with this person that you met as an adult they’re not your childhood friends, you know you guys are going to relate based on similar career paths or interests i think the best way to make friends is just to be a decent human being smile, be nice you’re going to find someone you can kind of stick to and if not stick to yourself another similar topic of loneliness and learning to be okay on your own is that you’re going to find lots of times where you’re going to be alone in college because everyone’s living their own life i was literally on my own in community college all of my friends from high school went off to college they went to different cities, states, countries and so i was literally on my own i was surrounded by people that i didn’t know i think it’s just me personality wise i was always kind of okay being on my own because i didn’t see that as a bad thing i didn’t see being alone as like oh no one likes me or i can’t make friends i’m not desirable or anything like that that’s not how i thought i was just like oh i’m alone i’m going to get stuff done i’m going to get my life together focus on myself i think it was just a natural way for me to think so it’s going to be different for everyone but just know that being alone is so common in college like i think it should be a thing that is talked about more is that you’re not going to have the liveliest social life in college you can see people having the time of their life with a lot of people but there are also much people just doing their own thing remember that it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a person if you’re alone, if you’re by yourself it just means, hey i’m alone that’s it gonna get some stuff done, gonna go home gonna sleep, gonna eat it’s okay to be alone you’re actually going to probably want to be alone a lot of the time in college because it’s just so busy you just want to relax and just be in your own zone for a while but being alone is so common it’s something that should be talked about more did you like being a commuter or would you have rather lived on campus now the thing is, my college experience and the person i am today is because of the decisions that i made so had i chosen to live on campus i’d be a very different person my life just would be different there are pros and cons to commuting you know, you get to at least escape from college but because of that, it’s not like a home you don’t have somewhere to escape to my only place to escape was the library or cafe i was lowkey kind of jealous of my friends who were able to go to their apartment which was just like a few blocks off campus like right after class they could just go to their apartment and take a nap and i wasn’t able to do that so i had to be productive and i didn’t get a break i went from one class to the other or i was in the library or cafe and i would go to another class and then i’d go home because i was so exhausted but because i was able to escape from college i was able to live another life i focused on youtube, i focused on other things and that was my own personal life not everyone’s going to have the same desires as me someone’s going to want to actually have a student life and be involved in the university as much as possible if that’s the case then maybe living on campus is a better solution for you but obviously you can have a busy life and be a commuter but i was just exhausted a lot i had to get up pretty early just to get to campus because driving took 40 minutes to an hour sometimes it would be 1 hour and 30 minutes because of traffic but i am who i am because i commuted and i can’t wish for something else or else i’d be different but really just evaluate what’s important to you whether you want to be close to campus so you can do whatever you want or whether you’re okay with commuting or whether that’s just a better decision for you finance wise, life wise, whatever did i like being a commuter? i’m just neutral about this whole thing another topic is how to keep college from defining your self-worth this is also going to be subjective because of how valuable college can be per person but the way that i grew up college was never this defining thing for me it’s not the biggest part of my identity going to uc berkeley it’s part of my identity but it doesn’t define who i am it was a part of my life and i think more people have to realize that college is such a small part of your life it can be a very defining part of your life but it’s only four years of your life like a lot can happen in those four years but a lot more happens in the decades after college as well everyone has different opportunities, experiences, circumstances that make them the person they are and even if you go to a prestigious university that doesn’t determine the life you’re going to live you can be at a great university that everyone talks about but you could also just be in your dorm doing nothing but then you could also do so much in college but that doesn’t determine your future that doesn’t determine if you’re going to get a job there are so much people going for similar things and all that which is a whole other topic but what i think matters more than what you do in college or who you become or anything like that is learning about yourself and making sure that you’re okay taking care of yourself and being your own friend learning to be okay on your own learning to be okay when things don’t go your way learning to find back up plans other paths and being okay with it and really just taking care of yourself i think is what matters more don’t determine your self-worth on something that is four years of your life going to college does not promise a prosperous life what matters in the end whether it’s graduating college if you go to college because not everyone goes to college or whether you’re in life 10 years from now, 20 years from now what matters the most is the person you are, the human being that you are whether you’re a decent human being because life is long and life is unpredictable and nothing’s promised nothing’s determined more than anything just make sure you’re prepared to take on the world with whatever comes keep your loved ones close always remember there’s a plan b for everything you just have to kind of look for it and the plan b isn’t always going to be something that you want like for me, i never thought about community college and because i went it offered me the life i have now which i am so thankful for there are backup plans everywhere but they’re not always something we want in the first place but they lead us to somewhere else if i did something else in the past i’d be a different person because that leads to something else life keeps happening, even after college college is just 4 to 10 years of your life and then you have to figure out something to do after that another question is was it worth it personally i’m glad that i took the experience and i’m glad i was able to go to college and finish not everyone is able to, so i’m very thankful for that i definitely learned a whole lot when i was in college i don’t know if i would’ve been able to teach myself these things a lot of it was stuff i had to learn along the way not just in my classes but in life in general so personally it wasn’t a waste of time and it definitely offered a lot to me you should just do research onto what path is good for you college is a commitment, and it’s hard and it requires a lot and yea but for my life i’m glad it happened i think this is going to be the final question which is advice if you were to do it all over again now like i said i am never doing that again but if i were to start all over it’s a weird thing to think about because my mistakes brought me to where i am now if i didn’t go to community college my experience in college would’ve been definitely very different i wouldn’t have gone to uc berkeley obviously because i wouldn’t have been accepted my personality would be different and just everything would’ve been different i’m kinda thankful i went to community college so i wouldn’t- i can’t tell high school senior nina to work hard and make sure you get into these universities or else i wouldn’t be the person i am today i wouldn’t have gone through the transferring experience that i’ve gone through i guess i could start from community college nina and just tell her that you’re going to be okay you’re going to graduate that you’re working hard you’re doing your best everything will pass my favorite quote and to just not spend so much time being stressed and anxious about the future about everything that’s happening i could say that one regret that i did have when i was in college was that there were a lot of times when i doubted myself and i was caught in my anxiety and negative thoughts about not graduating, not being sure about my future i remember in my last semester at uc berkeley i was so overwhelmed, so anxious that i didn’t have time to enjoy the last few months that i had in college for the rest of my life i was so worried that i wasn’t going to graduate that i didn’t have time to have fun to explore uc berkeley for the last time and just be excited about graduating about starting a new chapter in my life i was just like omg i have to get an a on this paper or else i’m going to fail this class even though that’s like not possible there were lots of times when i was just so overwhelmed that i couldn’t enjoy my day or enjoy my experience so if i had any regrets or anything that i would change it would be just to enjoy college a little bit more it is such a short time even if it seems so long even if in past videos of mine that you probably have seen i would complain and wish it would just be over that i could just graduate already college is short it seems long but it’s such a short part of your life and you have the rest of your life ahead of you advice if i were to do it all over again if i had the same path if i went through everything again i would wish that this time i did it with less worries and less negative thoughts and doubts about myself and just enjoy it while it lasts because it goes by so fast and that chapter literally closes and you can’t go back to it and it happened so just try to make the best out of college while you can take on access to whatever college provides take on those internships, take on those clubs organizations take on those acquaintances in class that was worded kind of badly become friends with them be friendly to them explore campus go on spontaneous trips with your friends or classmates take care of yourself, make sure you’re making good choices if you go to college, enjoy it it’s going to be overwhelming and hard, but there is time to live your life a little bit there is time to enjoy it try to enjoy it while you can because there are so many decades of life ahead of you after college so just remember to make sure that you’re going to be okay when you leave college and always take care of yourself, basically. i think that is all i can say for this video i know that there is stuff i may have not talked about but that is basically what i can think of for this college experience video i’m sure i will do more college advice videos in the future because there’s definitely a lot more to say it’s a whole 4 years of experience that i could talk about a lot happened in those 4 years and this is just- i don’t know how long this video is it’s probably 20 to 30 minutes long it’s just 20 to 30 minutes of my college life i hope that this video was helpful in some kind of way i feel like it was more like a big picture kind of advice video i’m definitely going to do more college related advice videos and all that in the future but i hoped you enjoyed this video, i hope that it was kinda helpful i know that a lot of you guys are already in college but hopefully some of you are about to start maybe you’re like me and you’re done with college but i just hope that this video resonated with someone and that’ll be it! thank you for watching this video and i will see you next time! goodbye my friends 🙂