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The student news site of Hawthorne Math and Science Academy

Aviator News

The student news site of Hawthorne Math and Science Academy

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Interview with Ms. Paulina!!!

Photo Courtesy to Rawpixel

Please enjoy this wonderful interview with Ms. Paulina! As seniors stress over college decisions, we decided to ask her about her experience with it and her life after.


S: Even though most students know you, please introduce yourself.

P: Hi! My name is Paulina Herrera and I am the Clerk Typist II here at HMSA. I am also an alumni.

S: Do you remember what the college application process was like when you were a senior in high school?

P: It’s been a few years but I do remember the college application process. I remember the nerves, doubts and anticipation. I remember feeling like I was in limbo during the waiting period. It felt as if my whole life depended on the outcome.

S: When it came time to make a decision, what did you do and why?

P: I was pragmatic with my decision. I was choosing between two UCs and Syracuse University in New York. I had received a scholarship to Syracuse but it would still be pretty expensive due to housing and travel costs.I really wanted to go to New York but realistically it would be a stretch and I simply was not ready to be that independent. I ended up going to UC Riverside because I liked the atmosphere when I went on a campus tour and I received a generous amount of aid.

S: What has your journey after highschool been like so far?

P: College was a hard adjustment but also great. I got to explore my hobbies and interests and I also met some of my best friends. I ended up graduating early and was very unsure about what exactly I wanted to do after college. I worked for a few nonprofits and as an art director intern for a bit. I worked as a program leader at York and I finally began as an aide at HMSA. Since then I have been ruminating and although I don’t quite have a solid plan I know I want to work in a field in which I can advocate and help the youth. Currently I am choosing between getting a MSW or teaching. I applied to a few graduate schools and am deciding between three: Stanford, UCLA and CSUN.

[UPDATE: She’s decided to go to UCLA!]

S: Are you happy with the path you chose?

P: I am content with my path. I think it is ok to not know all the time and to take life how it comes to you. Who knows, maybe in a few years I will find myself elsewhere. Still, I find joy in the fact that I am moving forward and broadening my horizons. As long as I am learning and growing I am happy.

S: What would you tell current seniors who are worried about their acceptances and having to choose their path?

P: Your emotions are valid. At eighteen (or seventeen) college decisions are your whole world. It’s easy to believe that it will determine your whole future, but it doesn’t. Sure, it will impact your path but you are the one who decides what to do with what you are given. Breathe and remember that this is just a small part of a bigger life. You don’t have to have all the answers right now; your only job is to keep moving forward and to try and figure it out. It takes time so give yourself grace and remember school is important but so are you.

S: Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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About the Contributor
Sia Thakor
Sia Thakor, Writer, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sia is a Senior in HMSA. She has interests in different art forms such as sketching and digital art, and enjoys listening to music, cooking different foods, and consuming a variety of entertainment.

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