Class of 2021’s Pathways to Success: Nicole Phan, Ohlone College

For summer, I’m planning to attend Ohlone College’s summer program and take some courses, as well as get my driver’s license. 

One major reason why I decided to register for Ohlone College is because I haven’t really decided which major to take, so I thought it would be a waste of money to go to a big university. At first, I just blindly applied to four UCs. But later, as the registration deadline for Ohlone approached, my sister recommended that I go to community college. I started researching and attending the informational sessions and I thought Ohlone would be better for me. Around March, I started thinking that it would be better to go to Ohlone because of my indecision.

The registration time passed, but the day before, I researched like crazy, and then suddenly decided on taking computer science. I thought it would be cool to study about it. I’m planning to try to transfer into UC Irvine. There isn’t a guaranteed transfer for computer science, but I’m willing to try for it.

I’m going to Ohlone with one of my other friends. I’ve never shared classes with her, so I’m definitely excited to finally take similar courses. I’m looking forward to Ohlone’s club activities because some of them are really interesting, and they talked about it in their informational sessions, so I wanted to try them. There’s the student government club, and another one related to sign language, and there’s the Girls in STEM club as well.  

My biggest challenge at Ohlone would be making my education plan, which would be deciding on which classes to take for each term. For computer science, not all the courses are the same as what UC classes are like, and I have to take the courses from another community college, DeAnza, together as well. I’m planning to take two classes from both community colleges, so I think it would be a challenge to combine that. I’m taking minor classes from Ohlone and major computer science classes from DeAnza, because DeAnza has more classes for computer science that are similar to UC classes, compared to Ohlone.

What they said is that classes will be mini-hybrid. For on-campus learning, they will focus more on the labs and bio related stuff, which require interaction with teachers and physical things, but mainly, it will be virtual for summer.

I think I prefer in-person classes, because they would allow for more interaction with the professors and the students. If it’s virtual, everyone’s cameras are off, and it just feels like taking classes or watching videos from YouTube, so there isn’t much of a difference, and I think it’ll be boring.

Mostly, when my friends asked which college I applied for, and if I told them Ohlone, they didn’t really show any contempt for going to a community college. They just said, “Oh, really? Good for you.” And they asked more about what’s good about going to a community college, and I explained to them, and they started understanding.

If students aren’t sure about community college, I think it’s better if they research more and talk with the officers from the community college to know more about it and the benefits they can get from it compared to the UCs and other universities. It depends on each person because they have different likes and dislikes and opinions and majors. Do research and talk more about it and learn more about yourself, so that you can make a good choice. It doesn’t matter if you think community colleges are good or bad compared to other universities, what matters is if it benefits you and goes well with your major.