Name: Sonia Gonzalez
Hometown: Lakewood, CA
My name is Sonia Gonzalez and this is my Beach Experience...
What was your experience like getting to CSULB and making the transition to the university?
My experience here has been phenomenal!!! CSULB was the first, and only university I applied to. Walking on the campus for the first time was overwhelming… I was excited, anxious, and proud that I had finally arrived here. As a returning adult student, my transition to the University took me a little longer than most students. When the majority of my friends were beginning college, I was busy raising two little boys so college was put off for a while. Coming to Cal State Long Beach from Long Beach City College was not just a transition for me, but it was also a big change for my children. Everything was so different compared to what I was accustomed to over at LBCC. The first thing I noticed about this campus was all of the student luxuries and accommodations…from restaurant selections, movie theater, bowling alley, pool, cafés, and yes…even the chalk boards in the restrooms. My children were thrilled because they no longer had to eat the same boring cafeteria selections…now they had choices when they would accompany me to school.
What is your Beach Experience?
My Beach experience has been wonderful. The instructors here are so helpful and knowledgeable. With all of the questions and worries I had…I probably drove them crazy, but they were always so supportive of me. At the start of my Social Work Program, I had the privilege of making great friends and was able to get to know them very well through the past two years. All my social work buddies made it possible for me to bear the difficulties and worries as a result of their support when I needed it the most….“THANK YOU ALL.” Having our classes together helped us become a cohesive and supportive team through all of the exciting moments along with stressful papers and exams we had to complete. Overall, the staff and faculty here are very welcoming. There has not been one department that I have walked into where they refused to help or support me. Coming to Cal State Long Beach was the right choice for me.
What opportunities did The Beach give you?
CSULB has given me the opportunity to practice what I have learned in courses before graduation (of course with the supervision of teachers and field instructors) as a part of my degree plan. Completing about 530 internship hours has also allowed me to gain a tremendous amount of experience in the social work field. Along with the fieldwork we also took a fieldwork course with other students in the program that allowed us to share our experiences and concerns. Because of this opportunity, I definitely feel confident about my future as social worker.
Another opportunity that CSULB has provided me is the campus organizations and mentor programs that I have been able to participate in. I am also part of the Partners and Mentor Success program which is for students who are considered first generation of their family to receive a college degree. Both of my parents came from Mexico and neither of them finished their education in their native country or here in the United States…as a result, I am the first to complete this landmark task. With the guidance and advice of professors Dr. Lee and Dr. Glezakos, I have been able to succeed in my program… “Thank you so much.” They were there when I desperately needed them, and it is because of them that I have been able to push forward when I thought I could not.
Also, I had the privileged of being part of Group Work Club which is an off-site organization for students or practitioners of social work looking to network. It was such a great experience getting the chance to meet other students and social workers. It was definitely worth my Friday evenings!!! Lastly, I had the great opportunity of going on a road trip with other fellow students (John, Paola, Alma, Andrew, and David). This event was my first time away from my family to attend a school event. Having to be the main caregiver for my children, I thought it was impossible for me to get away from them, but with the convincing of some of my classmates I decided to go. We went to Sacramento for Lobby Days and we lobbied for bills that would promote social change. Some of us had the opportunity to meet the Senator of our district, and speak with them about the importance of their support in regards to these bills. Sounds boring, but it was not! I did not realize how much power people can have to make change if they really put their mind to it… “Thank you for making this trip memorable guys.” CSULB has given me great opportunities!!! Making the choice to come here was one of the best ones I have made to date…It has led me to great experiences and great people!
What are your plans after graduation?
My plans after graduation are to work part-time and enjoy the rest of my time with my family. After a year, I plan on returning to school to get my Master’s in a Social Work program. Also, I plan on becoming active in my community and staying connected to Cal State Long Beach through joining the Alumni Association and giving back to the University. It is important that I keep in touch with my school…the education I have received here at Cal State Long Beach is priceless which is why it is so important for me to give back to the school I love.
--Sonia Gonzalez, '09