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Brisia Gutierrez

Published March 14, 2019

My Beach Experience

I remember being so nervous when I arrived at the dorms on move-in day. As I walked up the steps of Parkside building “N,” visualizations of my collegiate career raced through my mind. In my head, I had this idea of what college would be like for the next four years. I thought about my classes, clubs, friends, and all the opportunities that Long Beach had to offer, but then doubt crept into my psyche. The “what if’s” started pouring in. And that’s when it hit me. I don’t know what’s behind the door I was about to walk through. There wasn’t anything in the pamphlet that organized a linear path to what I was supposed to do before graduation. As I walked through the door, chaos cluttered the hallway as people were moving in and the next thing I know, I’m greeted by a friendly smile. With a soft smile and calming tone, Parkside “N” RA, Habiba Richards checked me in and directed me to my room. Allmost instantaneously, my nerves subsided, and I was home. Little did I know, that walking through Parkside “N’s” door would be the start of an epic college career. The friends that I made in that building are my forever friends; the classes that I took sparked an eagerness to learn and a passion for serving others; I was exposed to endless opportunities and took advantage of as much as I could handle. My Beach experience is perfectly summed up by my first day on campus. Throughout the years I was nervous and scared of the unknown, but there was always someone at the Beach that was willing to help and make me feel like this was the right place to be.

My Path to CSULB

School was always my sanctuary. When I was ten, I entered the foster care system, and I felt like school was the only place that seemed normal to me. I had good grades, great friends, and I even participated in band and athletic programs. In high school, I decided to join the Cross Country and Track team, and to this day I believe that it was the best decision I could have ever made. In high school, you go through a few defining moments and if it wasn’t for Cross Country and Track I don’t know who I would be today. It proved to me that I had the potential to do anything, it taught me the meaning of hard work and dedications, and it showed me how to hold myself with integrity.

So, when it was time to pick colleges, Cal State Long Beach was my top school because of all the opportunities that they offered, and I felt that I could make something of myself at the Beach. I went in believing that I had the potential to be a big fish in a big pond and I can confidently say that my time at CSULB has been beyond successful in all aspects: academic, professional, personal, and spiritual.

Life after The Beach. What is next after school?

During my time at CSULB, I had the amazing opportunity to intern with Congressman Jimmy Gomez’s (CA-34) Washington D.C. congressional office through a program called the Panetta Congressional Internship. I always knew that I wanted to help people, but it was in D.C. where a passion for public service was ignited. I want to serve large groups of people who have been affected by the fundamental issues of our socio-political institutions. More specifically, I want to help women and children affected by violence and try to mitigate the subsequent trauma that arises from said trauma. Right after college, I want to work for a local women’s shelter or YWCA, so I could broaden my perspective on how violence affects women and children, but more importantly, I feel like I could be an anchor of support or a listening ear for women and children who feel powerless in their situations. I’m not exactly sure where I’ll go from there but as long as I’m helping others, that’s all that matters.

Why did you get involved with the myBeach program and Alumni?

I believe that the myBeach program and the Alumni Association bring people together in a comfortable, friendly environment that embraces different backgrounds and allows students and alumni alike to feel a sense of importance as they reflect on what they contributed to CSULB. Also, they are both great opportunities for seniors to branch out and get a sense of life post-graduation while building strong relationships with fellow peers and alumni. And honestly, I really want the shirt.

What does it mean for you, to give back and donate through the BPT?

Cal State Long Beach has given me more than I could have hoped for, and for that, I will be eternally grateful. As a soon to be alumni, I would love to help the future classes in any way possible. The opportunities presented to me could not have been possible without the generous support of CSULB.