Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
Ashneel Pratap
Ashneel Pratap UC Berkeley, Economics

When I first became a student at CSM I realized that I was lost - lost in terms of I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. I had random preferences/hankering for certain academic disciplines, but I genuinely had no idea. I’m a first generation American and will be the first in my family to receive a degree. My parent’s hail from modest backgrounds and were formerly farmers in the Fiji. So essentially, I didn’t have any direction, didn’t realize what an education could do, and had little guidance in moving towards education. In spite of my disadvantage in terms of education I did have a strong work ethic. In my freshman year I had quickly immersed myself in the Honors Project, where I developed critical thinking skills. Additionally, being a part of the Honors community helped teach me how to navigate myself and transfer to an UC. As a College Ambassador, I worked towards connecting CSM to all of the communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and served as an official representative from CSM to a variety of High School fairs and CSM events. I also served as president of Phi Theta Kappa, an honors society devoted to service. Being involved a variety of extracurricular activities at CSM assisted me with developing a sense of direction. The very helpful and supportive transfer community of CSM guided me through figuring out my likes and dislikes. I consistently visited Mike in the Transfer Office and visited my counselor 4-5 times in a semester!  At first, I had a negative perception of community college. However, after getting involved on campus I now realize that community college is a path to success.