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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

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City College student Cassandra Wilson working at the Java City in the Cafe. | Trevon Johnson |
City College student Cassandra Wilson working at the Java City in the Cafe. | Trevon Johnson | [email protected]

At the sliding glass doors of Rodda South, she heard it for the umpteenth time.

“What’s up, Subway girl?”

The young man got too close, insisting he knew her, and backed off when Cassandra Wilson pulled out a knife. People often recognized her from the Subway in Greenhaven, where she used to work, but this time she felt harassed.

“I didn’t know I was in the wrong. I didn’t even know we had campus police,” says Wilson.

Wilson, now 27, recalls talking on the phone when campus police approached her and took her purse. In it, they found her knife. She was then arrested and taken to jail, where she remained for 36 hours. Wilson joked with police officers before bursting into tears.

“My mom’s gonna kill me,” Wilson cried with disappointment. She took anger management classes on campus shortly after the incident.

“I never went back [to jail],” says Wilson, who is now working on a certificate in the cosmetology program and A.S. transfer to California State University, Sacramento.

She is also studying American Sign Language, which she loves because it gives her the chance to help others, she says. Helping others is what she does daily on campus, working at the Java City in the City Cafe.

She’s always been a hard worker, she says, but Wilson admits she “piddled and paddled” with her classes when she started City College in 2009. She would go to class and then leave three-quarters of the way through it. She struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder her entire life, which made focusing extremely difficult, she says. Still, after growing up with a hardworking single mother, and after having her own children, Wilson found it easier to focus on academics and her own progress.

“With children, you have to concentrate,” says Wilson. After having her son, Casius, Wilson returned to school with a different attitude.

“lt’s like looking at a picture. You see horizons, and then all of a sudden you see a straight road and only one way to go.”
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Wilson grew up watching her mother balance work, school and a family. Wilson learned how to do laundry at the age of 7. Assisting at home helped Wilson understand the importance of hard work.

“I was at home doing what a husband should have been doing… helping my mother raise her kids,” she says.

Wilson, who says her mother would take her to school when she got in trouble, now has the chance to teach her own child how to appreciate school.

“You can’t be successful if you’re always playing,” says Wilson, who wakes her son up every weekday at 5 a.m. to get ready for school. He is so used to the routine and is thrown off schedule when Wilson tells him there’s no school on the weekends.

“She’s very friendly, funny and outspoken,” says Amber Lara, Wilson’s coworker and colleague who smiles as she describes Wilson.

Lara also considers Wilson a motivated individual who is “very passionate” about cosmetology.

Wilson, dressed in a red pea coat with black tights and leopard print boots for a midterm, brings style with her serious attitude when she balances life. As a barista, she chats up a storm with customers and co-workers throughout her day, bringing smiles and laughs on the regular.

Essence Ball is a student who works with Wilson, and says she reminds Ball of a best friend from years ago.

“She’s got personality, she’s funny and she’s outgoing,” Ball says. “She knows what she’s doing back here. She’s an expert.”

Wilson stays busy at work, where people give her compliments
and leave tips for her.

“I have to be positive. It’s what I’m paid to do,” says Wilson. Wilson says people come in to see her at work to feel better, and it makes her feel good. In return, she makes all her drinks with love.

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