“Coming into college I felt so… for lack of better words dumb” – Roselyn Romero
For first-year journalism major, Roselyn Romero, Cal Poly’s Pilipino Cultural Exchange (PCE) has provided a temporary relief from the pressures of college life.
As an underrepresented minority at California’s whitest public university, Romero says she often “. . .was the only Filipina in almost all of [her] classes.”
She credits this as the reason for her personal and academic struggles fall quarter.
“Coming into Cal Poly as an honors student and a minority I felt that I couldn’t ask for help because of a need to prove that I belonged here,” says Romero. “I would spend all of my time at the library just studying by myself but I was still falling behind.”
However, as a part of PCE she was able to connect with people that understood the adversity she faced and form a support system for when times got tough.
Angelina Seguin, a member of PCE, says, “PCE is a great way to keep from feeling lonely, leaving home for the first time can be scary but I know people who have found a home away from home in the PCE community.”
“Since I studied in the library so much some people in PCE reached out to me and asked why I was studying alone,” says Romero. “Literally the next day one of my friends came in to study with me at six in the morning and from there more and more people just kept coming in.”
After forming her own community within the library, Romero reflects on how grateful she is to have found her niche.
“It’s incredibly valuable for me to be able to see my friends struggling through the same midterms and essays . . . there’s something special about knowing that we’ll all get through it together and it keeps me from feeling like the odds are totally stacked against me,” she says.
Julia Pennington, a friend of Romero’s says, “I love knowing that pretty much anytime I need to study Roselyn is going to be there to lend me some inspiration when I’m feeling less motivated, I really admire her dedication.”
Of her time in college so far, Romero says, “the times I spend with my friends in the library really remind me why I’m in college, not only to obtain an education but also to expand my network and to have fun even though it might sometimes be hard as a minority at a predominately white institution.”