The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Nobody to somebody

It is the night I will always remember because it was a night that was never promised to me. I anticipated hearing my full name called —not by one of my parents because I was in trouble, but by a

woman that I had met only hours before. Around me sat 32 people my age, all wearing similar outfits, waiting for something, the same thing: to walk to the front of the stage of Sun River Church’s main sanctuary to be met by our parents so that they could hand us our high school diplomas.

Sometimes people ask me why I care so much about my educational goals. What those people don’t know is what it took me to get to college. They don’t know how many tears I shed, how much frustration I experienced had to face to become the person I am today.

At the age of 8 years old, I was diagnosed with an auditory and sensory processing disorder. Some characteristics of an auditory are having trouble paying attention and remembering information, having poor listening skills, and having difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling and vocabulary. I still struggle with these on daily basis. Some characteristics of a sensory disorder are being excessively ticklish, wanting to be touched and needing to touch everything and everyone. I regularly am restless through lectures, presentations or movies, and frequently my leg shakes while I’m sitting or falling asleep.

At the age of 9, I was held back to redo the third grade, and by the age of 12 I was told that I was never going to make it through middle school; and if I did, I was never going to make it to my high school graduation. Because they knew I was held back in the third grade and that I was not good at math, they implied that I would be held back in every grade I would be in. They had no clue that I had a learning disability—I didn’t tell them because I didn’t know what my learning disability was.

Unfortunately, I took what was said about me and ran with it. In sixth grade, I began to give up. My grades started slipping; I went from a B average student to a failing student in a matter of trimesters. My parents started to worry, my teachers were just ready to fail me, and I didn’t care. I was passing the only two easy classes the middle school had to offer—the elective course and physical education course with a B and an A-. In my math, science and history courses I either had a D or an F. I had a C in the English class I was taking because it was a special education course where everything was broken down and went more slowly.

I used to be eager to please in elementary school, but when middle school came around, I just stop caring. Yeah, I worked hard, but in the midst of all the struggles, the emotional pain and all the self-doubt, I just stopped caring. Once I stopped caring, I became a student who would worry any teacher or parent. I recall looking at my teachers as they tried to help me, but I basically ignored their help. They were ready to fail me, and I still didn’t care. When you’re 12 or 13 years old, you want the support and approval from your friends and peers, none of which I had, so I stopped caring all together.

As the trimesters went on, the more my grades dropped, and the more my parents started to question if it was a good idea for me to attend Mitchell Middle School. When I was halfway through the seventh grade, my parents pulled me out to home school me. They thought that it would help, but the reality was I still just didn’t care. I thought I was stupid. I thought I was a failure. I thought my life was not worth living.
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In middle school and all through high school, I was a C average student. I wasn’t one of the home schoolers who pulled straight A’s because my parents were my teachers. That sounds just as

Mahalie Oshiro shares her personal journey from self doubt to an achiever. JD Villanueva | [email protected]

unrealistic as it is. If I wanted an A, I would’ve had to earn it, just like a student in the public school system. However, when I was in high school, my parents thought that none of us would live to see my high school graduation. I didn’t do my school work, and because I didn’t do my school work, my parents would end up mad at me.

Something inside me changed in the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school when I attended a youth leadership conference called City on the Hill. We learned about the legislative process and even served as mock legislators for a week. Who would have known that a youth leadership conference—basically a camp filled with people from all across California whom I didn’t know and being called Assembly Member Oshiro—would make a huge impact on my life? It made me want to change, to prove those friends and my parents wrong, and to cram two of my hardest years of high school into one. I came home from that leadership conference, and I knew I was going to do it. I was going to graduate from high school a year early, or rather, on time.

After City on the Hill, I was so encouraged. Before that experience, I didn’t think I was ever going to graduate from high school. But it encouraged me to dream bigger and to imagine what my life would be like with a high school diploma. After deciding to graduate on time, some people questioned my motivation. I struggled through the equivalent of two years of school in one. There were many times that I thought I couldn’t pull it off. But I had gained a whole new group of friends, my fellow seniors, who encouraged me to do my schoolwork and graduate with them. It was something new to me. It was a refreshing reality to learn that it is possible to have such encouraging friends.

Life isn’t easy. Life brings us a good number of challenges, but it’s up to each of us to do something about them. I was once a failing student at the bottom of her class with no hope of graduating from high school. Now I’m in my second year of college, and every day is a day closer to one day receiving my master’s degree in journalism.

I thought I couldn’t do it, but I did it anyway.

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