Ánimo South L.A. Senior Ready for Leadership and New Beginnings at UC San Diego

Ánimo South L.A. Senior Ready for Leadership and New Beginnings at UC San Diego

Oluwakemi Deckon, Ánimo South Los Angeles class of 2022, plans to attend the University of California, San Diego and major in psychology. She is one of a group of graduating Seniors from Green Dot Public Schools California who shared their plans and experiences after graduation.

Q: Why did you choose UC San Diego?

A: Originally I planned on going to Cal State Dominguez Hills. But I wanted to get experience away from home. I've been in LA for most of my life. I just wanted to have that sense of freedom but still be in an area I know. My brother also works in San Diego. So he's going to be there if I need help or if he wants to just be around to go places. I also studied their school a little bit and, and I saw that it's more inclusive for everybody, gender, what you like, and what you want to learn. Also, if you wish to be part of leadership programs, they have everything. I felt like that was really good for me because that's where I want to be, where everybody's included, everybody's able to do what they want. And somewhere, I can feel like I belong.

What inspired you to pursue psychology? 

I will start by saying that when I was young, in middle school. I was in a place where I wasn't always there. And I was aware of that. But I also didn't have the support I needed from close family members because they didn't have support for mental health either. When you don't have parents who can help you with mental health, they never get any mental health help. It's kind of hard. I just fell in love with the college environment, books, and studying. I recently took a psychology class, which helped me push toward that. Friends tell me that I'm good at talking to people.I realized that might be something I'm going to do and pursue in life. So I just went for it.

Did you participate in dual enrollment at Ánimo South Los Angeles through South West College?

Yes. I could engage with the class, and the course was interesting. We also had times when we could share and do things like Jeopardy, we could ask questions and go over packets and things, so it was a pretty good experience.

What are you looking forward to the most when you arrive on the UC San Diego’s campus?

I will say more so stepping out of my comfort zone because I am an introvert. But I've grown a little more open to trying new things. I want to see where I can do something different because I was involved in leadership. So I plan to return to leadership once I get on their campus. I'm also living in the black diaspora, so I hope to become more self-aware and aware of what's going on on campus. That will be new because I've never been involved in anything like that before. So that just seemed like something that I might want to do because I live in LA, so I see that sometimes we need more change. I feel like this is a good start to see if I actually like this, or is this something that might take me somewhere I want to be as far as an activist?

How did Ánimo South Los Angeles prepare you for college?

I will start by saying that being part of leadership was a great opportunity. I've been involved in leadership for four years. It gave me a taste of what it's like to become a leader. Towards the end of 12th grade, I was in a place where my mom and I struggled financially. And so, ASLA helped me apply for so many different college applications that I felt like I had an opportunity to actually go to college and be a student on campus. At first, I could only pay for one college application. I thought Cal State Dominguez Hill was my only option, but ASLA was there to help me and push me into different colleges. I could afford other applications and various colleges and get into UC San Diego. 

Do you have a teacher or someone in particular that really helped you?

From day one, Ms. Alex Harpole has always encouraged me. She's just a pure soul and always there for you. She's more than a counselor; she's a friend. She is someone you can go to for your problems or just somebody you want to chat it up with in the office, somebody that you feel comfortable getting help from. She's a person that you'll just gravitate towards because she has that type of soul that makes you want to talk to her.  

Do you have anything else that you might want to talk about? 

Yeah, I would say to all students: try to go to ASLA because it's a small community. But yes, this small community builds family, builds friendships, and builds long time support.