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

Financial woes, transfer limbo

||Jana Hendler ||
Photo by ||Jana Hendler || [email protected]

Students go to class. They stress about getting homework done and tests studied. They get excited to meet new friends and go to fun parties. They anticipate their futures and careers. But when external forces like the recession get in the way of their plans, many see their dreams and college careers go up in smoke.

Jamie Santiago, 19, was forced to give up an internship, drop out of school and move home to Sacramento when the economy took a turn for the worse.

At this time last year Santiago was living the dream. She had moved out of her parents’ house into an apartment in Daly City. She was commuting to San Francisco City College in hopes of transferring to UC Berkeley to study journalism.

She was working as an intern with Brand Habit, a fashion Web site, and was looking into other internships. At Brand Habit, Santiago was actually using the skills she was learning in school. Santiago was doing everything right to ensure her goals and plans for life would be achieved.

And then the economy crashed.

It became clear very quickly she could not afford to live and go to school on her own, and moving home was going to be inevitable.

“I just ran out of money,” Santiago says. “A minimum wage job isn’t enough to pay rent in a large city.”

Santiago had to quit her internship to find a job, but even that was not enough. She transferred to City College for the fall of 2009 and moved back into her childhood home with her parents. In the Bay Area, Santiago had shared an apartment with her sister. She had freedom and responsibility. Now, she has moved back with mixed feelings.
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“I love my parents, and we’ve been getting along pretty well,” Santiago says, “but it is still weird and frustrating after having been out on my own.”

Santiago’s frustration is mirrored in her friends and family. Her sister, Marjorie Santiago, watched her struggle in the city and was there when she had to make that ultimate decision to move back.

“I could see it was hard for her,” Marjorie Santiago says. “It’s difficult to accept when she works so hard at school, and yet it isn’t enough because the lack of money comes in the way of her dreams.”

Santiago puts on a good face and tries not to emphasize her displeasure about the turns this economy has put on her life, but her friends see through the mask.

“I can tell she is frustrated about being back here,” says William Leung, Santiago’s boyfriend. “She talks about how much she misses San Francisco all the time.”

The failing economy was not only enough to force Santiago home, but it is also putting a limit on her options for the future. CSU and UC universities are not taking as many transfers as before. Classes are being cut left and right, classes that Santiago needs to transfer. Prices are only continuing to increase for school, as well as living expenses.

It makes for a dim outlook on the future. Santiago’s four-year plan for college has now been set back, and she is unsure when she will be able to get back on track.

“I know it could be worse and I do not want to complain,” Santiago says, “but I feel like I’ve taken one step forward and two steps back. It isn’t only frustrating, it’s scary.”

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