Meet Sarah Farmer
Class of 2014
Transfer Goal: My transfer goal was to get accepted to a four-year university, which also has a top rated psychology program, on a full scholarship. I also wanted to attend a campus with an active student life that could keep me as involved as I was on Mesa's campus. A campus that would provide me ample opportunities to meet new people, organize projects, and make a difference on campus and within my community. I'm happy to say I've found that university and that I've achieved this goal. I will be continuing my education at UCLA starting fall 2014! Go Bruins!
How were you involved at Mesa College? A better question would be how I wasn't involved. Since 2012 I was involved in leadership positions in the Associated Student Government (Vice President 2013-2014, Secretary 2012-2013), Honors Club (President 2013-2014, Newsletter Co-Editor 2012-013), Phi Theta Kappa(Vice President of Fellowship 2013-2014), and I sat on nine participatory governance committees on campus and one on the state level as Mesa's student representative. I was also involved with the Pre-Health AMSA chapter for a year, I was a member of Psi-Beta, and I attended the Inter Club council meetings on a regular basis.
How long did you attend Mesa College? I attended from Fall 2011 to Spring 2014.
Why did you choose Mesa College? Originally I was interested in the Animal Health Tech program, but after taking a course that emphasized a lot of psychology principles, I switched my attention to becoming a psychology major. Then, after getting involved and taking a few more classes, I decided to stick with Mesa since I loved how active the student organizations were, and I'd already grown accustomed to the campus (and yes, I even got used to the struggle of finding parking). Not to mention that Mesa has some of the best faculty, staff, and administration I've had the privilege to get to know and work with throughout the past few years. I doubt I would have ever received as much support at another school compared to Mesa, so it was a good choice on my end!
What have you enjoyed most about your Mesa College experience? My involvement within the clubs and student organizations was what I enjoyed most at Mesa. Every opportunity or recognition I came across was somehow directly a result of me getting involved and all of them made me a more capable student leader and advocate than I ever thought possible. And of course my days were never boring with my fellow student leaders around.
How is Mesa College preparing you to achieve your academic goals? Mesa helped prepare me by ensuring I received a fully-rounded education before transferring while also encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone to use my voice and join a variety of extracurricular activities. It truly helped me realize my self-worth and how much anyone can accomplish if they just set their mind to it.
Tell us about a particular learning experience that you are proud of here at Mesa College. Before I came to Mesa, I was a mediocre student at best (but even that's pushing it). I didn't feel that I was suited to pursue a college education as I struggled with Bipolar Disorder, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Disorder, and ADHD on a regular basis. But after taking a few classes at Mesa (Math being one of them and a subject I used to always struggle with), I realized that I can be successful and that education is a passion of mine that I plan to pursue long after I graduate. This learning experience helped me become largely who I am today, and it has been more than just rewarding-- it's been life changing.
Are there any faculty or staff that you would like to recognize? How did the help you? First I would like to thank all the staff in Student Affairs, so Dean Ashanti Hands, Kathy Fennessey, Courtney Lee, Shawnice and Mary Beth, and Brandon Terrell. Without their guidance and continuous support with my extracurricular and academic activities, my experience at Mesa would be considerably less rewarding and satisfying. I also wouldn't have been able to organize as many events as I did during my terms in student government. I would also like to thank some of the most outstanding professors I've had the pleasure of taking classes with-- Aaron Farmer (Mathematics Adjunct Professor), Tania Kravatz (Sociology Professor), Elizabeth Hueneberg (Communications Professor and Phi Theta Kappa Advisor), and Ron Israel (English Professor). Thank you for making classes exciting and giving your time to always help your students out in any way you possibly can! And last but not least, I'd like to thank the hardworking faculty and staff in DSPS, the Honors Program, Transfer Center, and the school's administration (major shout out to President Pamela Luster, VP of Instruction Tim McGrath, and VP of Student Services Julianna Barnes) for always helping me achieve my goals and making me feel welcomed in meetings or whenever I stopped by the office. It encouraged me to always do my best, ask questions without fear of criticism or judgment, and use my voice to represent the students to the best of my abilities.
What resources/services have supported you through your Mesa College experience? I was sort of like a sponge and used a variety of the resources and services provided through Mesa. I was a DSPS student so I often used Test Proctoring to have a distraction free environment during exams, I went to the tutoring center several times throughout my last several semesters (Kirk especially helped me ace and understand stats!), and I also visited the Transfer Center and Honors Center for information on the transfer application, major course requirements, and scholarship opportunities.
How would you describe student life at Mesa College? It's as active as you want it to be. There are a variety of clubs and organizations to join, some more active than others. But regardless of the level of activity there's plenty to choose from, and the members within each club and organization all wish to meet new people and make a difference somehow on campus. All you have to do is join, attend their meetings, and do your research to find one that best suits your interest and schedule. You might feel nervous at first, but they don't bite and they'll welcome you with open arms. It's worth it, trust me.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? I see myself still attending graduate school in pursuit of my PhD. During that time, I hope to have found a job working at a school or university in some manner, preferably as a professor/teacher, working in Student Affairs, or as a school psychologist.
How have you chosen to give back to your college community? As of right now, I plan on still donating my time within the community by volunteering, possibly attending events when I can, and helping spread my experience and what I've learned from attending Mesa to students who might have questions. In the future though, the door is wide open with endless possibilities.
You were recently honored by the California Commission for Community as an All-California Academic team member and were named the top scorer in the state, earning an additional award as the 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar. What has this recognition meant to you? It has meant the world and more. I never thought I would get the awards, not for an instant. I felt that what I'd done up until then was ordinary, nothing special. I was just doing my job as a student leader who wanted to help make a difference. Moreover, I felt I was only doing what was right, that I was doing what I was supposed to do as an able student with a voice. So when I got news that I got this award and far exceeded my expectations, I cried. I admit it. I bawled like a baby I was so happy and stunned. I felt like I was dreaming up until I actually had the awards in my hands. It told me that what I did mattered, that although I thought my contributions and struggles were small, someone thought otherwise. It was an unbelievably gratifying experience that has only encouraged me to do more, to embrace more opportunities at my new school, and to expand my horizons so I could realize my full potential as not only as a student, but as a person in general.
What advice do you have for current and perspective Mesa College students, and especially those who are facing challenges such as you did? Never give up and don't let anyone--not even yourself--hold you back. You have the capabilities, the knowledge, and the strength to overcome any obstacle that blocks your path so you can fulfill your dreams. And Mesa has the programs, faculty, staff, and administration that desperately want to help make your dreams happen. So embrace your struggles and every opportunity that comes your way, dive out of your comfort zone, pursue your dreams, reach out for help, and have 'unrealistic' goals--you might just come to find that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. I know I did.