Arianna Martinez is a volunteer and current mentorship program coordinator, who worked with devotion days leading up to UC app deadline. Read about her personal recount of her experience here!
Arianna Martinez (left) & Daniela Bautista (right), Kid City HS participant and Arianna's Cousin
“ Last Sunday, on November 29, I woke up early to finish last minute edits on student’s Personal Insight Questions (PIQs). But, since there was one day left to submit the UC application, I spent the day proofreading 12 essays. Suddenly, later that afternoon, my scholar, Ashlyn Cardoso, texted me that the UC website started crashing and students were having trouble submitting their application. Three hours later, the University of California tweeted that they extended the deadline to December 4th. Sighing in relief, I went on Slack and shared the news with Kid City mentors. I was given the opportunity to continue to proofread personal statements for another week.
Typically on Fridays, I have a few tasks to accomplish and by noon I take a step back. But today was not a typical Friday, it was December 4th, and I expected my emails to be flooded by students who had questions about the UC application or to take a look at their PIQs. I also volunteered to do office hours from 4pm to 5pm with other Kid City members to provide assistance via zoom meetings.
As a mentor and mentorship program coordinator, I never had the opportunity to interact with Eliseo Hernandez. I never saw him in any of the programs that I am involved in. But when I started reading, his writing made me see things that I had never seen before. Every word made me feel like I was there watching a film about a young scholar who is more than capable of empowering his community. I could not stop reading. I wanted to learn, to understand, to affirm his experiences. Impressed by the imagery in his PIQs, I felt privileged to read his story. Eliseo saw his own experiences and the world around him in ways that I could not at his age. My eyes were watery, to read such a beautiful story--I was proud of a student who I did not know.
Being in a zoom meeting with six students, as much as I wanted to help every student individually, I learned that I could not do everything myself. However, at the same time, I realized that the zoom meeting environment allowed me to reach more students in one day. Last year, at Kid City, I only assisted one to two students per day with their UC application.
I did not plan to stay in the office hours for more than an hour, but after considering the students who still needed support and only having Deni and myself, I had to stay. At times, I was overwhelmed, while Deni was helping a student, I had Anahi waiting for me while I looked over at Eliseo’s PIQs. Students had different needs and questions, mostly in regard to the Activities and Awards section and the PIQs. None of the students shared their camera, assuming they were all typing in their digital devices. I wondered how they felt--the stress of the deadline--the excitement of submitting. Eventually, Colin and Sal joined the zoom meeting. I felt relieved. I still spent time looking at multiple students’ PIQs, and proofreading them more than once.
Each time a student submitted their application, Sal would play a song to celebrate their accomplishment. After hours of being on zoom all day, my eyes were tired. I logged off at 9:30pm, but Sal stayed a bit longer.
I decided to stay up til midnight to see if anyone would reach out to me. Although Eliseo had finished his PIQs, he texted me to ask me about the SAT and ACT section; we spent some time texting back and forth. At 10:56pm, he sent out a last message, he shared an image of submitting his UC application and thanking me for the support. Throughout that week, around 25 students shared an image of their submission confirmation, and expressed their gratitude for having someone from Kid City helping them out with every step of the UC application. I am proud of every student who began the college application process, who submitted their application, and to those who are working towards reaching higher education. I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for the staff, volunteers, and mentors who dedicated their endless effort to supporting students with their academic career. I feel privileged to be a part of Kid City students’ journey and to listen to who they are.”