Scholar Connection | March 2021


Mar 2021


Spring break marks the year anniversary since colleges started pivoting their campuses to remote learning. Many of you had to pack up and leave your dorms/off-campus housing as well as your friends with little notice. Many in the BCS community lost jobs, experienced illness, and lost loved ones. Some of you withdrew from classes and struggled with motivation, isolation, and depression. We cannot imagine all the challenges that college students are facing at this time. While we at BCS love celebrating your achievements, we are also here to support you through challenging times and know that this year has increased your needs. Here are three ways that BCS might be able to help:

  • We can listen and empathize. Sometimes just talking about concerns and problems can bring relief and allow you to see solutions.
  • We can refer you to resources either at your school or in the community that could help you address financial issues, academic issues, or social/emotional ones.
  • We can connect you to people in your field, alumni or undergraduates with similar concerns, goals, or careers to help you figure things out.
  • We can review your application for an Emergency Fund and provide
    financial relief when possible beyond your scholarship award. Please see
    below for details on how to do so.

Please reach out to your CSA to see how we can help!

Linda Osuorji –
Lynn Walker –
Bachelor Degree High Hopes Team

Scholarly Advice

Lauren S.

2019 BDHH Scholar

Claremont McKenna College
Economics and Media Studies Major

It is inarguable that this past school year has been anything but draining. With each zoom meeting, extraordinarily long assignments, and online exams, I have felt each ounce of motivation drained from my body. My responsibilities that come with dual majoring in Econ and Media Studies, having a job, and attending personal/family matters result in a balancing act that most students are all too familiar with. Like every other student, I am tired. So, this article will not be a piece on how I found the inspiration to persevere. Instead, I will discuss how I allowed my Berkeley Community Scholars community to carry some of my responsibilities. Could I have handled everything independently? Maybe – but at the heavy cost of exacerbating my sleep deprivation and stress levels. 

As internship season arrives, exhausted students like myself are forced yet again to add another thing to their planners: Find and Apply to Internships. No matter if this is the first or third year of college, this process is always one that students dread for a number of reasons. Of course, there are the hours of research, resume and cover letter development, and the awkward task of choosing which professor (whose office hours you never went to) is best to write a letter of recommendation. The most dreadful part of this entire process, however, is simply having to add another task on top of school and personal work. I remember feeling my stomach turn as I penned “find internship” into my planner back in December. 

It was precisely around this time that I received a text message from my mentor reminding me that she was ready to begin introducing me to some of her colleagues so I could begin to make important internship connections. Through the people I connected with, I refined my career interest in public relations and received tips on how to improve my resume to impress prospective employers. Without my mentor, I would not have had any idea as to what direction or steps I needed to take to start exploring my career options. This text reinforced the significance of community – more specifically my BCS community. In a time where I was growing anxious and feeling, even more, overwhelmed, my mentor’s message reminded me to ask for help. I am so accustomed to handling everything independently that I often neglect to reach out and let other people help and guide me. This is applicable to anyone in any age demographic. Whether you’re a student, graduate, parent, etc… reminding yourself to lean on your community protects yourself and your mental health. 

At this point, I have not found a formal internship and neither have most of my peers. Under normal circumstances, this might have alarmed me, but being at home for the last year has made me less focused on a job and more on making up lost time with loved ones. With vaccine distribution picking up pace, the air getting warmer, and days getting longer, spending more time behind my computer is not at the top of my list. Of course, the dedicated student in me can not allow myself to do nothing this summer. So, while I am continuing to submit applications,  I also had the idea to create my own “informal” internship. I figured with some guidance, I could piece together different activities that could allow me to explore public relations, develop my writing skills, and have fun spending time with others. Using the support of my BCS community, I asked Lynn to help me connect with someone to help me formulate my “internship”. Through this, I created a plan to interweave my career interest in public relations with my personal interest in art and fashion. In lieu of a formal internship, I could spend my time going to art exhibits/shows with friends creating my own mock press releases to develop my writing skills, start a blog with a friend, and form relationships with local art directors. While this may not be a professional experience, I get to develop my writing portfolio with real, local experience and enjoy some time away from zoom meetings and my computer. 

This remote academic experience has been challenging in more ways than one. I lost the force and drive that once gave me the motivation to do my assignments with an energetic and positive mindset. Working with my community has been the only thing that has helped me to persevere through this semester. Finding ways to let people alleviate some of my pressures aided in my health immensely. I have time to breathe, rest, and care for myself which has made all the difference in my attitude this semester.

Bouchra B.

2018 CCHH Scholar

Samuel Merritt University
Nursing Major

How do you maintain school-work/work/life balance?

I schedule one day out of the week to be my complete rest day from school. This means no computer, no assignments, nothing- just so that my mind gets to relax. Next, I schedule days to do my homework. The best time to create a schedule is when you are signing up for classes. I try to fit all my classes close enough to each other, so that I have more free days to study and do homework. This also allows me time to fit in a job. The best tip for successfully managing your time is planning your schedule in advance – preferably when you are registering for classes.

What do you do for self-care during these times? 

You don’t need to spend a lot of money or really any money at all to practice self-care. Here are the things I do for self-care:

  • Going out to smell the air – this is something we all need and can bring us simple joy.
  • Eating new foods once a week. I love to eat and being able to eat food outside instantly makes me happy!
  • Showering, doing my hair, nails, and anything that makes me feel more put together and ready to go!
  • Enjoying activities with a friend who always exudes positive vibes – like walks, hikes, adventures, zip line, escape rooms, road trips just for coffee, you name it!

How do you find motivation through completing coursework/attending online classes?

I find motivation by talking to friends. School will never be easy, and you will always start to doubt yourself and ask if you really need to continue schooling. I can tell you that is just a phase. I have felt this way many times throughout my journey, where I didn’t want to complete any assignments and mentally could not finish an easy assignment because my body shut down. The way I got out of it was speaking to a person who is going through school with me. I ranted, had breakdowns in my car while eating a McChicken at 3pm, and let everything out to a person who would just listen. Sometimes that’s all we need. I realized as I ranted, that everything would be okay and that is just the way life is. It is important to accept it and move on, because there really is nothing you can do about a particular situation (i.e. the pandemic in this instant). It’s all about acceptance and understanding. 

Elevate Virtual Career Fair

College career centers often host virtual job fairs to expose students to companies that hire for summer internships or jobs post-college. Fairs are a great way to learn about companies, careers, and to introduce yourself to hiring managers.

Click here for 10 Tips to Prepare for a Virtual Career Fair and, if you are interested in jobs in education, come practice your skills at an upcoming Elevate Virtual Job FairElevate Teaching is an organization that recruits, develops, and retains teachers of color for high need schools in California. They will be hosting a career fair to share about opportunities to teach/tutor/work in some of the most innovative and impactful schools serving low-income students in the Bay Area.” Below you can register for the career fair.

Register Here for the Career Fair

Internship Opportunity Highlights

1. The  First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship Program (FirstGEN)
Paid summer program for undergraduate students who are the first in their immediate families to attend college and who intend to pursue careers in social justice. APPLY HERE Applications Due: April 9

2. NPH Bay Area Housing Internship
One-year paid internship program designed to recruit and train students of color at Bay Area colleges and universities to become housing development/project management, professionals. APPLY HERE Applications due April 16. Info Session on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, @ 1:30 PM with NPH’s Program Manager, Monica Joe, to learn more about the application process. REGISTER HERE

3. Policy Internship (New American Economy)
May-August remote paid internship to assist tracking and researching immigration and economy-related policies and legislation. Send Resume and cover letter HERE.

Click HERE for a running list of internship opportunities. Please keep checking back for updates and let us know if you need help with completing an application and/or updating your resume

Tutoring Help Available

Need writing help? BCS is working with two amazing tutors who can help with understanding assignments, reviewing drafts, editing, etc. 

Jared B. specializes in language arts tutoring (including English literature, creative writing, social science reporting, and English Language Learner support). He has 5 years of experience teaching bilingual adults and is fluent in Spanish and French and conversationally proficient in Portuguese and Mandarin. 

Trisha C. practiced law for 23 years and has taught AP US Government and Politics for the past four years. She now teaches US history at Foothill High School. She is available to help with subjects pertaining to political and historical events. She also can help to advise and edit writing assignments regardless of the subject.  

To set up tutoring times with either volunteer, please contact your CSA.

Important Reminders

  • Students on the quarter system: Please send your winter transcript and your spring schedule to your CSA, so we can send out your next scholarship check.
  • BCS Emergency Fund: If you have a financial crisis, you can apply for the emergency fund. Contact your College Success Advisor (CSA) for help completing the application or if you have any questions.
  • Finish Line Fund: Students who have exhausted their funding and plan to apply for a grant to complete an additional term/year of college can apply for the Finish Line Fund. Applications are due by April 16th. Please contact your CSA for details. 

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