May 24, 2023

How Andrew Arevalo grew by helping others on his Mesa College Journey

Andrew reflects on how his journey was not always smooth sailing, but how it was necessary in transforming him into the person he is today.

By Noah Lacsina, Jennifer Kearns

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Andrew Arevalo has left a long lasting impact on the Mesa College Community. The featured speaker at the 2023 Asian Pacific Islander Recognition Ceremony (ARC) was the president of the Asian-Pacific Diversity Club, a peer navigator, and cohort of the Kapwa Learning community. Andrew’s involvement on campus is a prime example of a student with the courage and dedication to leave a legacy on campus. Andrew will be moving on to San Diego State University in the fall to study Sociology, after receiving his Associate’s Degree from Mesa College at this year’s spring commencement. Commencement is always a powerful moment for students to celebrate a hard earned achievement while also symbolizing taking a step forward into their bright future. Before his monumental moment, Andrew reflects on how his journey was not always smooth sailing, but how it was necessary in transforming him into the person he is today.

Both of Andrew’s parents moved from the Philippines to America with ambition to create the life they strived for, making Andrew a second generation Filipino American. Born and raised in National City with his three siblings, Andrew’s parents emphasized the importance of quality education. Although the soon to be Mesa College graduate is on a promising path to earn multiple degrees, this was not always how he intended to achieve academic success.

Andrew originally had planned to not attend Community College and go straight to UCSD as an Engineering major. He did not view Community College as a viable option at first because his high school teacher claimed that Community College could not give someone the proper education that a UC or CSU could give. Unfortunately, the emotional toll of being a high school teenager along with the tragic passing of his beloved grandmother, factored into a lack of motivation that caused a slippage in his grades. Andrew ended up not getting accepted into UCSD, but with the mentorship of his sister and other Mesa College Alumni, he decided he would give Mesa College a chance. According to Andrew, he was heading into college struggling to find himself, but he had no idea how the Mesa College experience would help him grow ready for the new path that lied ahead.

Andrew’s courage to be involved at Mesa College not only positively impacted his life, but put him position to positively impact others too. Becoming the second cohort of the Kapwa Learning Community with Professor Jennifer Derilo and Amber Alatorre put Andrew directly in front of students he could help. As a Peer Navigator for a year and a half with the CRUISE Program & the Coordinators of Agustin Rivera & Alexi Balaguer, he helped first-year students navigate their first year of college. Andrew even became this year’s club President of the Asian-Pacific Diversity Club and he continues to work on campus as a Project Assistant at Work-Based Learning with Professor Katlin Choi. His sociability and commitment to Mesa College has generated memories and friendships that transcends his time on campus. A path that was once seen as not a viable option, evidently fits our fellow Olympian.

Andrew’s journey may be relatable to a lot of us Olympians. Whether we are students, staff, faculty, etc. we all have once had to make a change of plans. Still, like Andrew says, “life is not about the destination, but the journey.” Andrew’s journey and his path is a reminder of what means to be a part of the Olympian family. A college striving to provide support, direction/opportunity for its students, and students who are seeking that to find themselves. Andrew’s story is a reminder that you never know how your actions can impact others. So let’s appreciate our journey, and try to impact others the best we can.

Tags: Mesa College, Peer Navigator, Graduation, #AsianPacificIslander, Mesa Students, Diversity Club