The Marvelous Millie Montoya

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Vanguard Alumna, Millie Montoya,  from the graduating class of 2018, is planning to transfer from Santiago Canyon College with four Associates degrees to a four year university this fall.

Frontline: What motivates you to do well in school?
Mille Montoya: “What motivates me to do well in school is the possibility of succeeding. I care about my education a lot and college isn’t something I want to mess up so I try my best to do well in every course I take. No one else in my family has gone to a four-year university. My twin sister and I will be the first to do so. I really want us to do well in school in order to make our family proud and be able to support them in the future.”

FL: Where do you plan to transfer?
MM: “I’m hoping to transfer to UC Santa Cruz or hopefully another UC. I won’t hear back from UC’s until April so I’m just waiting.” 

FL: What do you plan to study?
MM: “I’m planning on studying psychology and sociology. I’m planning on double majoring wherever I end up transferring to.”

FL: What inspired you to study what you want to study in college?
MM: “What inspired me to study psychology and sociology were a lot of things. For psychology, I’m really interested in learning about the impacts of mental health and illness and learning aour the steps we can take to help those around us. For sociology, I just love learning about the world around me. I’m currently taking an Intro to Social Problems course at SCC and the course and professor are amazing. I really like that through sociology I can learn about issues in America that many people don’t always want to acknowledge, it’s a really interesting major to choose since it forces us to re-examine the world around us and what we thought we knew about it.”

FL: How many associate degrees are you graduating from SCC with and what are they for? How did you achieve this?

MM: “I will be graduating from SCC this spring with four associate degrees. I will have an AA in psychology, sociology, social sciences, and liberal arts. I managed to qualify for multiple AA’s because of all the courses I’ve taken and many of the courses required for AA’s overlap with each other. Like for sociology and psychology, they both required statistics so that’s how I managed to get so many AA’s.”

FL: Do you have an ultimate like goal that you desire to achieve?
MM: “Dang, my ultimate goal in life that I want to achieve is just to impact and influence kids lives. I want to be a teacher or college professor hopefully as a psych or soc professor and help teach kids about certain subjects. Originally I thought my goal was to be a psych teacher to help students learn about mental health and illness because I wanted to do my part in eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness. I thought that was something I could help do just by educating young kids and hopefully that would help them to be open minded and empathetic towards those who struggle. I think by educating young kids it would help little by little to create a more empathetic and understanding generation and hopefully they will continue that cycle. But the more sociology classes I take, the more I think I might want to be a sociology professor too because I could help to educate others about important topics like capitalism, sexuality, social injustices, climate change… I hadn’t realized just how wide a subject sociology was until I got to college but I’ve found that I really love learning about every topic we’ve covered and I think I would want to teach others about these topics too.”

FL: When you’re faced with adversity, what helps you get through it?
MM: “When I’m faced with adversity, what helps are my friends and family. My sisters are my best friends but I also have other friends that I know I can rely on when I am going through something difficult. However, I’ve also found that therapy has helped me a lot too. A lot of people think that something needs to be wrong inorder to go to therapy but I don’t think so. I started going to therapy through SCC and even though I was not struggling with mental health issues, therapy really helped me learn what kinds of things I could rely on to help me if I was. I learned to be more open to communicating and how I can rely on myself too when I’m going through something. If I am going through something, I found that I like to focus on my hobbies more than usual. I work out more… I watch more anime… I paint my nails… Just little things like that I focus on to help me push through whatever it is I’m dealing with. I’m really grateful I have found those things and resources I can rely on.”

FL: What has been your favorite part about attending Santiago Canyon College?
MM: “My favorite thing about attending SCC is all the resources they offer to students. Everyone at SCC just wants you to succeed. I have attended the first year support center, the math success center, the teaching pathways center, the food pantry, and the psychological resources they offer. I joined SCC’s honors program which is an amazing program that helps students that complete it have a really great chance of getting into UCLA. The counselors at SCC are also amazing and so nice and helpful. I’ve only been at SCC for 2 years but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the counselors and professors that really encouraged me to do my best and succeed.”

FL: To you, what does it mean to be a first generation Mexican American?

MM: “To me, being a first generation Mexican American means a lot of things. My parents came here in the 90’s, it took my dad 10 years to get his citizenship and he’s worked so hard to give my family the life we have. Being first gen means being able to succeed for my parents. To be able to give back everything they have given to me. When I was at El Mo, I wasn’t a bad student but I didn’t really care about school and I didn’t know how important college was because my parents and older siblings hadn’t gone to college. Now that I’m at SCC and my parents tell me how proud they are of my twin sister and I, it reminds me that everything I do is for them. I have the privilege of knowing English while my parents don’t and I have the privilege of attending university when my mom didn’t finish middle school because her dad didn’t think a woman needed an education. And although there are many faults with the American government and there is currently a president in power that doesn’t value the hard work of people like my parents, I still acknowledge that attending university in the U.S. is a privilege and getting a degree is all my parents have wanted for me. Being first generation means valuing the sacrifice my parents made to come to this country in order to give my sisters and I a better life. So I will graduate from SCC and attend a 4-year university so that I can get a degree and do good for my parents.” 

 

Millie Montoya has demonstrated the capability that any student has to succeed in any school. She is an inspiration to Vanguards students and makes El Modena proud with her accomplishments and will continue to do so as she makes her way through life as she achieves her goals with one sociology and psychology class at a time. 

 

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