Next Stop, UC San Diego!


Andrew Rodriguez sitting in front of Geisel Library, UCSD’s most famous landmark!

Andrew Rodriguez, Reporter/Photo Editor

As the final weeks of senior year begin to trickle in, it’s starting to become more and more real that this is the end. All that’s really left to do is finish taking my remaining AP exams and then graduate. However, my education won’t end at high school. 

As a lot of you know, I want to pursue a career in teaching, specifically, mathematics. I really want to share my journey on how I decided why I want to teach, and specifically, why I want to teach math.

To begin, Mrs. Manter had convinced me to join AVID during my sophomore year, to which I joined as an AVID rookie, my junior year. AVID is a program offered here at Selma High to help students apply and learn about college, financial aid, and scholarships. I’ve always known that I wanted to teach and that I was gifted at teaching subjects like sciences, biology and chemistry, Spanish, or math. Every year, I’d change my mind about what I wanted to teach. Freshman year, it was biology because I really enjoyed biology and Mrs. Peña made it really fun to learn about. During my sophomore year, it was chemistry because I really enjoyed learning about the properties of elements and how everything on the periodic table is essentially used in our everyday lives. 

When I finally joined AVID, I knew it was going to put me a step closer to my dream of becoming a teacher. The only challenge I faced was knowing exactly what I wanted to teach. I have always been really good at math, but it never occurred to me that this was my strongest subject. I had Mrs. Ramming as a teacher for three awesome years for Math 1, Math 2, and Math 3 Honors. Math 3 Honors really challenged me for the better. Solving challenging trigonometry equations, analyzing graphs of logarithmic functions, and recognizing the difference of cubes equations was something that was really fun for me. Even though classes were online and really long, Mrs. Ramming’s sixth period was always the highlight of my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons. Math 3 Honors was so fun that I even had fun doing the homework, crazy right? It was at that moment that I knew I could make a career out of this. I was already good at teaching math to my friends that struggled with it, especially during quarantine, and I had a lot of fun doing math problems, so why not make that the subject I want to teach? 

Knowing that, I finally figured out that math was the path I wanted to take, but I still wasn’t sure on where to go to college. Junior year, our AVID class did online presentations of colleges we researched, Elisa, my partner, and chose UC San Diego. With all of the research I had done on UC San Diego, I knew it had a solid math major. So, I kept this knowledge with me when I applied for colleges this year.

When I looked around for other colleges that were ranked high for their math majors, UCLA and Cal Poly SLO took the cake for the best math majors in California. I started gravitating more and more towards UCLA because of its prestige and location. Who wouldn’t want to live in Los Angeles? Plus, they were ranked number one in California for math. So I knew my career and I knew where I wanted to go. All I had to do now was submit my applications and do the hardest part, wait.

On March 18th, our AVID class took our annual trip to Six Flags. On this day UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego finally released my application status. UC San Diego had accepted me and I was ecstatic because this was my first dream college. However, both UCLA and UC Irvine had waitlisted me, and though it was still really good to be waitlisted, it was a bit upsetting because UCLA was where I really wanted to go. A piece of advice I really want to share here is to always keep your options open, especially for colleges. I will say this though, having UCLA waitlist me was for the better because it diverted me onto a different path that’s even better. So with my FAFSA contribution, it was between UCSD and Cal Poly SLO. I had to really think about how expensive both schools would be, what environment I wanted to be in, and what made me happy. 

As May 1st approached, I was still trying to decide where to go. I had never even been to San Diego, so my family and I took a trip! We toured the city, beaches, and most importantly, the UCSD campus. We walked on campus for about three hours and that’s when I knew this was where I wanted to be. It was in a big city, it was prestigious, the students were really nice. Plus, my actual major is Mathematics, Secondary Education, whereas at Cal Poly, it was just regular Mathematics, which would’ve caused me to graduate in five years instead of four since it didn’t have my teaching credential woven into it. Essentially, the universe was telling me that UC San Diego was for me.

So after I graduate from Selma High, I’m off to San Diego, where I’m embracing my new adventure with open arms.