Transfer Student Spotlight: Aaron Valdivia

We’re starting a new blog series featuring the experiences of 2017 Preparing Accomplished Transfers to the Humanities (PATH) Summer Academy attendees and other transfer students.

Aaron Valdivia, 2017 PATH Summer Academy Attendee

Name: Aaron Valdivia

College: Sixth

Major: Japanese Studies

Minor: Film Studies

What was the hardest part of transferring?

Filling out the application. It seemed easy enough, but because I attended all three San Diego Community College District colleges, and the application stated Mesa (and all other campuses) in the choices, I wrongfully assumed that the verbiage implied that all three colleges were represented in that choice. This was not correct and as a result I was initially rejected and it caused quite a bit of unnecessary stress.

What advice would you give to transfers who are currently at community college?

Build a plan/road map for your time at UC San Diego. Look at your major’s requirements and look up the courses to find out if they are limited to specific quarters (ex: winter only) so that you don’t miss any important classes with your short time here. Also check out assist.org and make sure to take every course you can at community college before transferring so you can maximize your time. Also minor in something that you’re interested in, but don’t want to, or can’t major in.

What tips would you tell future students about the UC San Diego campus?

Get a locker if you commute, and stay on campus before and after your classes. You don’t make friends commuting to school just for class and then leaving campus. Sign up for more (clubs/activities) than you can handle, and dial back as the quarter goes on. You can always pull back, but it’s harder to jump in late. Also, community dining plans give you 20% off in the cafeteria and markets run by HDH (Housing Dining Hospitality). There are free movies shown in the Price Center Theater, and you can take one course free on the extension campus each quarter if you get a voucher before the beginning of the quarter.

From left to right: Mariana Falossi, Robert Freemon, Aaron Valdivia, and Anna Strahan at a Career Center Workshop during the PATH program.

How has the PATH program helped you?

I have formed countless connections with peers, mentors, faculty, professors, the extension campus, multiple clubs, and language exchange partners. I’ve made a solid group of friends over the summer that have stuck around and helped push me into new opportunities. I knew the school before fall quarter even started. I was comfortable while the freshmen looked lost. I now have a great internship which fosters my skills and provides me opportunities to advance myself in nearly every way. I feel that PATH program really transformed me from the person I thought I was to the person I always wanted to be.

What was the hardest part of the PATH program?

Going to summer school when I was looking forward to a summer break before transferring. Also 8:00 a.m. classes, but I’m used to that now.

What is your career goal? Why did you choose UC San Diego?

I want to help bridge Japanese and US culture. I think that will most likely be accomplished through a position in translation for a company like Nintendo, work in the tourism industry, or possibly starting my own Japan travel focused company and website. I chose UC San Diego because of the degree available. At most other universities, I could major in Japanese language, but at UC San Diego I get a more well-rounded degree that encompasses language, history and culture. I feel this is more in line with my personal goals.

What activities are you involved in on campus? What has your experience been getting involved?

I have been heavily involved with the extension campus which has been an incredible experience. I began as a volunteer tour guide, but was asked to participate in conversation cafes, and eventually was offered a position as a conversation Leader. I also have many language exchange partners as a result. This has really helped me explain English better and will be great skills to have if I choose to pursue teaching English Abroad. I also follow all the event committees on Facebook and email so that I can participate in the concerts and events that take place around the year. This has been a great experience. I am often alone, but I meet new people with common interests and get practice talking to people and not being shy. I am also a part of the Sixth College video production club. We film events and are even planning to make a short film. We will also be in charge of hosting the film festival in the spring.

When you are not in the classroom, what are you usually doing? 

Watching movies, browsing Japan travel videos on YouTube, or cooking.

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