Jose Gallegos Ruiz is an outstanding student who finished his first year at Mendocino College with a 4.0. He is proud of his hard work and is grateful for the support of his parents and the Mendocino College staff who helped him along the way.
Jose was born in Jalisco, Mexico. His father lived in Ukiah, CA for over 20 years before Jose and the rest of his family joined him in the U.S. to seek better opportunities in education. During his first year in College, Jose was forced to overcome feelings about his sense of belonging. Many people he knew, including his parents, had no more than a fifth-grade education. For Jose, it was very challenging to step out of his comfort zone and find the tools and support he needed to progress. One of the biggest challenges for Jose was learning to speak English. He spoke zero English when he first arrived to the U.S. as a freshman in High School and in the beginning, had to have classmates translate lectures for him. He didn't have many friends and often felt very alone.
Jose began his educational career at Mendocino College in the fall of 2016 and originally planned to major in Spanish. After taking a few classes in Mexican/American history, he decided to add a second major in Chicano Studies to his educational plan. He is part of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and during his first year, Jose says the program provided him the assistance, guidance, and academic support that helped him succeed and get him to where he is today. He feels fortunate to be one of the seven interns selected to spend the summer of 2017 in Washington DC where he worked at the Office of Migrant Education in the U.S Department of Education. He was part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the High School Equivalency Program (HEP) National Association and was able to attend briefings and hearings on Capitol Hill. Jose is now a CAMP/ FYI student mentor in the Mendocino College Dreamer Center and loves being able to give back to the program that offered him so much during his first year. Jose praises the friendly and helpful Mendocino College EOPS team, counselors, and financial aid employees, and highly recommends their support to students, especially those in their first-year of college.
Watching his parents work so hard to provide for him and his two siblings was what inspired Jose to attend college. Their hard work continues to motivate him every day and keeps him moving forward with his educational goals. When Jose shares his educational successes with his parents he says he can see happiness in their eyes because they know their hard work is paying off. He laughingly admits that after one class he can go home feeling worn-out and drained, while his work from dawn until dusk and never seem to get tired.
Jose plans to graduate from Mendocino College in the spring of 2018 with an associates degree in both Spanish for Native Speakers and Ethnic Studies. He hopes to double major in the two disciplines at UC Davis to complete his bachelor’s degree. After completing his undergraduate degree, Jose says he may pursue a Master's in Education Policies or Spanish. He would like to eventually work in the field of education, because he believes that education is the key to success.
Every day on campus creates a new memory for Jose. He says he doesn't really understand why some students dislike school, "There is always something new. You never know who you are going to talk to or where that will lead in another five years. You never know if the person you will talk to today will end up being your boss or if you will end up being his boss. It could be where you meet your future wife or your future husband. You just never know. College is a unique experience and students should take advantage of that. Try to make as many memories as possible." He encourages others to work hard, never give up, and always ask for help.