Meet the Peer Mentors

Sara Akhtar

Software Engineering

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . how to manage my time and responsibilities effectively. Although it wasn't too hard to get through community college, when I transferred to SJSU I knew things were going to get real. Taking upper division classes, working on projects with real mentors and advisors, applying for jobs, internships, competing with 30,000 other competent students. It was all overwhelming. There was so much to do and I felt like there was so little time. But it's part of life. That's what the university experience is. You learn how to fit multiple different things on your plate only to end up picking a few of those things you really really enjoy. College is meant to prepare you for the real world and if you were able to get past any difficulties you faced in college, you will definitely be able to get past difficulties in life.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . to maintain a balanced life. College is not easy and we definitely need to spend a lot of time studying and learning, but at the same time we should give ourselves some free time as well. Go out with friends for a day trip, go out for movies or bowling, start a new hobby, join a dance class. Pamper yourself once in a while and relax. You deserve it after stressing and working so hard to succeed.  

What's the most spontaneous thing you've ever done? Snuck out of the house, took my brother's car, picked up my friend and drove all the way from San Jose to San Francisco and back through Oakland all way past midnight.


Jessica Ballardo

Journalism

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . to take initiative. SJSU has so many programs and opportunities that allow every student to be successful, and taking that one extra step outside of your comfort zone to get involved with something you are passionate about can make all the difference! 

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . remain confident in yourself and your abilities. Not everything will come easily to you, but by believing in your ability to find the best study techniques for different subjects, there will always be a way for you to be successful.


Tori Bowser

Communication

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . to take advantage of all the club opportunities on campus! Being in a club allows you to network and make friends who share similar interests as you! 

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . take it one day at a time. Focus on what you can do today and do it. You'll find that you complete more tasks this way and you're not as stressed. 


Bao Bui

Social Science

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . the context of why my academic success matters and knowing what success looks like on my own terms.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . learn the necessary tools to address the injustices within our communities, such as institutionalized racism, discrimination, and prejudice. My conviction and set goals give me drive and context. 

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren't an issue? I would love to invest myself into more boxing. I feel that by boxing, I get to challenge the fruits of my strengths and build self-confidence and empowerment.


Guadalupe del Villar Ortiz

Liberal Studies

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about all the free services that SJSU provides. For example: the gym, the swimming pool, counseling, etc.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . pay attention in class and take good notes. Review them at least five minutes after class and before the next class to keep your memory fresh.

Where is the most interesting place you've been? Marrakech, Morocco!


Alex Gonzalez

Economics

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . that you are allowed time off from the university in times of emergency.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . stay diligent on due dates. 

What three words best describe you? Approachable, calm, introvert.


Morgan Grace

Undeclared

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about all the on-campus resources SJSU had to offer.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . get help as soon as possible, do not wait it out.

What would your ideal way to spend the weekend? Cook a great breakfast, hang out with friends, watch a movie, sleep.


Cavin Han

Industrial Technology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . which classes to take.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . plan ahead, study hard, and keep your life balanced.

What do you wish you knew more about? Body language and mind reading.


David Han

Psychology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about all the resources/organizations that are on campus and how to utilize them to navigate the obstacles in college.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . build a network with professors and other students as well as having a strong support system. Having a good network has not only helped me socially, but has brought me into contact with opportunities and tools that are valuable for succeeding in college. Similarly, a strong support system has helped me during the difficult times in my college career.


Cristian Hernandez

Psychology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about student clubs and open spaces available for students to meet new students and talk about any concerns or issues about anything.  

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . to be more organized with my school schedule so I can balance between school work and time for myself in order to execute things on time.  

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren't an issue? I would definitely try getting into a martial arts academy to learn various techniques on how to defend myself.


Ling Le

Behavioral Sciences

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . that you will make mistakes, like everyone else, but what you do after really defines your character. Understand that people can change for the better.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . put your best effort towards everything you do and don't let failure discourage you from trying something new.

What's something you’ve been meaning to try but haven’t? Making acai bowls!


Brandon Louie

Animation / Illustration

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about the wide variety of resources available on campus. All of these programs are easily available, it's just a matter of using them.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . develop the mindset of balance. This can apply to time management, health, and relationships, amongst the many elements a student must weigh out.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance of winning a medal for? Lego model building.


Kamille Luna

Undeclared

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . the importance of office hours. Using office hours effectively is more than just passing the class, it can potentially open up new opportunities!

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . self-care. Your well-being is your most valuable asset. College can be extremely demanding, and we often sacrafice our health to compensate. Recognizing your physical and emotional needs is the backbone of college success!

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? A backpacking trip across Asia.


Jennifer Luu

Computer Science

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . not to underestimate the challenges of waking up for a 9:00am class. Like a lot of people, waking up early for high school was normal and I thought I could do the same in college. However, a lot of factors that I didn't even think about made it more difficult, especially commute time (when there is traffic) and staying up late more often (for academic/social reasons).

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . start early for studying, projects, and homework. I personally think the most important reason to start early is to catch something you don't understand, so you have time to ask questions and prepare for exams. Almost nothing good comes out of procrastination, unless you work well under pressure.

Get to know your professors early in the semester too! Most of the time, they are a terrific resource! Who knows the material/expectations in class better than them? It is a lot less intimidating to ask a question one-on-one than to ask in class as well.


Alana Madamba

Kinesiology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . to check in with academic advisors regularly, and make sure that you are taking the right classes you need to graduate.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . time management. As a college student, it is vital to know how to prioritize your time so you can excel in your classes and attend to the other important aspects of your life.

If you could live in any game or movie universe, which one would you choose? I’d live in The Nightmare Before Christmas so I could always be celebrating Halloween and Christmas!


Joel Meza

Psychology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . that getting involved throughout school is a tremendous benefit for your academics. 

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . put your education above all other aspects. 

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? Traveling through Europe!


Alison Nguyen

Management Information Systems

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . that you get out of college what you put in to it. Making the effort to step out of my comfort zone and trying new things has truly enhanced my college experience. If you have even the slightest itch to try something, do it, because you will regret it if you don't.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . plan out all four years ahead of time, adjusting the plan every semester to ensure you take all your required classes within 4 years.

If Peer Connections gave you a 3-day paid vacation, what would you do? I would fly to Virginia and surprise my grandparents.


Joveli Njomin

Industrial & Systems Engineering

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . the details of all the resources on campus.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . prioritize what is most important to you, but keep a good work/life balance.

If Peer Connections gave you a 3-day paid vacation, what would you do? I want to go somewhere relaxing like a beach club to relax my mind and soul with close friends.


Bryana Ochoa

Psychology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about all of the resources available on campus. If you have a question or need help with something, there are different programs, services, individuals, and student groups that can be of great use! Don't be afraid to get the help you need and always make the best use of the resources around you! Don't forget to go to office hours and make connections, it'll help you out a lot in the long run.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . to find a balance between all of the responsibilities you have in your life. Filling out a planner with everything you have going on and mastering time management are two important keys that have been helping me stay on top of everything I have going on in and out of school. Plan out when you'll be setting time to write up a research paper, volunteer, hang out with your friends, and time for yourself as well, it's really beneficial and will help keep your mind at ease. 

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance of winning a medal for? Binge-watching a new show/series.


Evelyn Ramirez

Business Administration / Management

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . more about the resources on campus like the different departments in the health center and the resources online like the GE planning spreadsheet.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . ask questions, build a network with peers in the same classes, and keep going even when you want to quit.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? Exploring a new continent with my family and friends.


Polet Ramirez Rubio

Nutrition

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . that asking for help wasn't a weakness and that asking for guidance is a sign of strength for the future. Being a first generation student really made it challenging for me to even get into a four year university. And I encountered even bigger challenges throughout my years at SJSU. I think the resources open to students are not only for academics but also for personal growth. 

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . understanding that whatever I put into a task will reflect what I get out of it. I also remind myself that the pathway to success isn't the same for every single person and that it shouldn't matter how I got there, but that I will get there someday and learn some valuable things along the way. 


Sogol Saradar Ghandchi

Business - Corporate Accounting/Finance

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . how to better use the resources that are available to students. 

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . don't skip classes! 

Who has impressed you the most with what they've accomplished? Nahal Iravani - she became the first Iranian-American Superior Court judge.


Saketh Saxena

Computer Science

 

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . how much time and effort would go into completing course work and other responsibilities.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . plan well, work hard, make great connections and get enough sleep.

What's your claim to fame? I can learn any new skill in less than a week.


Omeed Shorooghi

Electrical Engineering

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . .

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . .

What’s your claim to fame? I make pretty good fried chicken.


Aviral Singh

Engineering Management

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about all the resources and workshops on campus. The clubs that are on campus can be a great way to network and meet people with similar interests. Get involved, explore and feel free to reach out for help.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . to keep calm and believe in yourself. Have a daily routine and make a to-do list. Move forward one step at a time and get involved as much as you can with all the activities and clubs on campus.

Who has impressed you the most with what they’ve accomplished? My elder brother. He serves as a role model to me and I am happy to see the way he’s blooming. Loads to learn from him.


Brittany Swan

Nursing

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . that there were resources like Peer Connections that could help guide me through my first semester without feeling like just one of thousands of students on campus.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . to form relationships with other students, faculty, and staff that can help you whenever you may need it throughout your college journey.

What's something you've been meaning to try but haven't yet? Going hiking in new and exciting places.


Haley Tang

Advertising

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about how many on-campus resources there are for my benefit. Getting to know the different programs that SJSU has to offer allowed me to save money and introduced me to some of my best friends.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . to take one step at a time! Don't rush or compare your experience to anyone else, both academically and socially. Try new things but don't force yourself. Trust and enjoy the process!

What game or movie universe would you most like to live in? Definitely Big Hero Six, in San Fransokyo. It's my favorite movie. I’m super proud of being from the Bay Area but I also have a lot of pride in my Asian heritage, which San Fransokyo encompasses.


Juritzi Torres-Mendoza

Communication Studies

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . more about the diversity in majors.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . have as much fun as possible with classes and extracurricular activities. 


Charles Van Meurs

Sociology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . how difficult finding housing would be.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . time management and prioritization.

If Peer Connections gave you a 3-day paid vacation, what would you do? Work out, explore the city and campus, watch horror movies.


Jazz White

Pre-Nursing

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . about the various resources on campus that help students cope with different things while they experience college.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . always get help when needed.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance of winning a medal for? Doing laundry. I’m the best folder and organizer when it comes to putting away my clothes after washing.


Brooke Whiting

Communication Studies

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . how far in advance I should start studying.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . always have a goal to reach for and you will most likely try harder.

What game or movie universe would you most like to live in? I wish my life was like The Little Mermaid so that I could live on both land and under the sea.


Kendrick Williams

Political Science

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . the resources available on campus and different clubs and organizations to meet new people.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . stay as organized as possible! Make a list for everything, study in advance and use your planner! 

What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen? Cats being happy when their owner returns.


Lea Woodley

Psychology

When I started at SJSU, I wish I had known . . . that it's okay to struggle and get frustrated. Your essays will frustrate you, and your tests will make you nervous, but if you put your best effort in, you won't fail.

My advice to fellow students to help them succeed is . . . to actively use your planner. I love getting to cross off the things that I write down. This way I have my tasks staring at me and it pressures me to get them done.

What is the most heartwarming thing you've ever seen? My grandparents’ 50th anniversary.

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