As the stress of applying to colleges reaches its apex, many students feel that they are confined to follow a very specific education path: to attend a four-year college directly after graduation. The ¨pressure cooker” educational environment in the Bay Area compresses this stress, especially at Burlingame High School.
However, on Friday, Nov. 3, senior students were reminded that there is not one singular path to success in life after high school. Former Burlingame student Flavious Abellana spoke to English teacher Melissa Murphy’s fifth and sixth period classes about his unconventional educational route and tried to dispel the stigmas surrounding it.
In high school, Abellana did not realize his own potential until senior year, when he began to challenge himself and take more AP level classes. Not even knowing what the SAT and ACT tests were, he approached the college application season unprepared compared to his peers.
Although he had the choice to go to three state schools, he chose the less “glamorous” option and decided to attend Skyline Community College. In school, he kept up his grades and transferred to UCLA as a business-economics major. He now works as a financial analyst at Spruce Finance in San Francisco.
During his presentation, Abellana concentrated on addressing the stereotypes of attending community college. He explained that many people told him he would be “stuck” there while the rest of his peers got a head start at a four-year college. However, Abellana emphasized that he was not only an exception, but one of many who transferred to a UC school. He also focused his presentation on the financial benefits of transferring schools.
Abellana’s presentation had an effect on many of the senior students.
“Based off of his presentation I learned you can do anything you set your mind to,” senior Emily Shatz said. “Everyone struggles in high school for different reasons and grades is definitely one of the biggest thing students have to deal with. I learned you still have opportunities after high school.”
Shatz continued, “Schools like UCLA seem completely unreachable based on the 15% acceptance rate. But after 2 more years of trying at community college that rate can double and give you the college experience you didn’t think could have otherwise.”
In the end, Abellana had dispelled many of the stigmas attached to attending a local community college. Students were surprised at the benefits of this path and the different options they had.