First Generation College Transfer Student, Jose Macias, stands in front of the Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success.
Photo: Daniel Oberbauer

Discovering My Second Family - Jose Macias

Jose Macias '18

Political Science: Emphasis on International Relations 

For the first decade of my life, I grew up in Calexico, California, a small town on the border across from Mexicali B.C, Mexico. My mother is from Mexicali, I grew up surrounded by my mother’s side of the family, and my grandparents for some time worked in the fields until my grandfather became a police officer in Mexicali. My mother finished her high school education and met my father shortly after. My father was born in Compton, California, finished his high school education, and worked in construction with my grandfather in L.A county. My father’s parents immigrated to L.A from San Luis Soyatlán Jalisco, Mexico. My parents married in 1994, I was born in 1995, they separated in 2004, and I moved to Orange County where my mother remarried. I eventually finished high school and applied for Fullerton College.

I took economics in high school, which motivated me to go to college. I learned in this class how much money I need to earn per year to live a “good life”. I understood in order to live a “good life” I needed to earn, at the minimum, a Bachelor’s degree.

I used to be very shy and I struggled with holding conversations with people and engaging in the classroom, but once I graduated high school it changed. I needed to get a job, so I started with The Sherwin Williams Paint Co. I began engaging in projects where I took the lead and helped customers. I learned interpersonal skills, time management, and communication skills that have carried over to the academic setting. In my final year at Fullerton College, I was proposing study groups, participating more in class, and mentoring some of the students I engaged with.

I have been advised by a few faculty, but a mentor relationship has not been established. I think if I had more time at UC Davis I would have been able to connect with someone, but I had to work part-time up until this academic year.

The best thing about my University experience was discovering my second family that I didn't know existed. This family is the Chicanx and Latinx community. I learned that I shared similar upbringings and struggles with a lot of folks and this community is here to support one another. It’s amazing to meet so many kind and encouraging people, and discovering this community has been the best thing. They have touched my soul.

I would tell my freshman-self to take your time with classes. Take three, not four, if it helps you get better grades. You are here to do the best you can, so you can transfer to a great school. Do not rush yourself.

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