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“Experience, though no authority,” I believe Fullerton College provides great opportunity, inspiration and direction. My first and final semester at Fullerton College, Fall 2012, has allowed me to move past my 7 years of academic purgatory; with the completion of my remaining English courses, and my Spring 2013 admittance to U.C Berkeley. I find myself reflecting over the semester that comes to a close with finals week; as well as some of the larger events that led me to this point. In the last 7 years I’ve taken the time to backpack and camp the beaches of Maui, own and operate a Las Vegas-based business, and absorb as many writing-inspiring experiences as possible.

I am 25 years old. I have spent recent years in self-examination, and am perpetually seeking truth. I was inspired by my highly intellectual best friend, as well as Thoreau’s concept of “living deliberately,” after realizing that most of my current knowledge is invalid, or subpar. I have been following a Raw Vegan diet, seek self and global awareness, and strive for personal growth in all areas of my life. A concept I’ve learned in the last 7 years is: true ambition is met with growing pains.

There is never an ideal age to be exposed to life’s darker experiences, barraged by gut wrenching moments that strive to shatter ideologies, or walk on shaky footholds that lean towards destroying a man’s outcome. My business crumbled—a call center for a Vegas newspaper—in July earlier this year. Shortly after, I lost my apartment in Northern California, which planted me between my recently divorced parent’s homes in Riverside and Santa Ana. It’s a bad economy, and I come from a poor family. I’ve found myself in recent days stretching 5 dollars a day to fulfill food, transportation and any remaining school costs. The apex of 2012 has been witnessing my best friend and former business partner struggle with homelessness. He has decided to seek life on the East Coast, when no real opportunities outside of day-to-day living provided themselves in California.

Despite my personal life, my time at Fullerton College, or The Age of Floerke—a suitable label of the era if you’re an English major or have ever spoken to the professor—has been the culmination of my community college experience. Dr. John Ison has also been a critical source of technical refinement in my writing ability; giving me that extra kick needed to prep for Berkeley’s standards and paper deadlines. Professor Brandon Floerke is constructed from supernatural elements. He’s an enforcer of interest in literature, passion in writing, and a Fullerton College Treasure—draped in Jesus hair. I’ll end with one final comment to save ego, an appendicitis epidemic and allow future prospective students opportunity to arrive at a similar subjective experience. Professor Floerke is highly knowledgeable in his craft, supports all of his lectures with multiple acclaimed sources, and burns his teachings into memory banks, through humor and wit. He also walks on water.

Beyond the educational aspects, Fullerton College allowed me to experience close and reliable relationships. My family has been fully supportive, tweaking with their limited money and fast paced lives to assure my progress. I have also made many new friends along the way. Through Dr. Ison’s teaching style, I found myself in friendly interactions with the people in my classroom. We shared moral support, and constantly challenged each other to succeed. I felt I could express my growing appreciation best by working with them to achieve their goals. I made use of my background with business and hiring experience. I spent November reviewing and serving as a consultant on college applications and work resumes for my friends and family.

I thought my opportunity with education would be another thing I lost, as my world was throttled and bruised in 2012. To my great fortune, through the faculty, friends and family that encircled my experience at Fullerton College, I persevered. I remain hopeful of my outcome, as I embark on my next journey in life.