How This Graduate Pivoted Rejection to Find Her Passion

How This Graduate Pivoted Rejection to Find Her Passion

Meet Class of 2022 Ánimo City of Champions Charter High School graduate, LaZayiah Holston. LaZayiah, who plans to attend California State University, Los Angeles and major in social work, shares her experiences and plans after graduation.  

Q: What inspired you to pursue a degree in social work? ?

A: At first, I was supposed to major in nursing, but I didn't get into the nursing program at Cal State L.A., so I had to find an alternative. I ended up looking into jobs that had to do with mental health. I looked at social work and fell in love with the idea of becoming a social worker, specifically a clinical social worker. 

I found that to be my passion because even though my mom's a nurse, and then my aunties are nurses, and it's kind of a generational thing, I found myself wanting to be in mental health more than nursing.

How did you come across Cal State L.A.?

The thought of Cal State L.A. came from Ms. Tyler Williams. My dream school was UC Davis, but I didn't get into UC Davis. I got into Cal State LA. Ms. William said this school is not too far, and she helped me come up with the decision of Cal State LA, which I am thrilled with.

What are you looking forward to when you arrive on campus?

The first thing is just getting up on the campus because I want to take what I've done in high school to college. As far as leadership roles and networking, I want to be active on campus like I was in high school. I don't plan on just attending school and not having school spirit. I plan on being a part of school as much as possible because I'm sure if I network in college, I can find a good job once I graduate.

What are you most nervous about, preparing for this new chapter in college?

I will say starting over, you know, having to start all over, meeting new people, and adjusting back to school life. It is a different ballgame now, being really independent. Nobody's gonna hold my hand now. It's all on me, and I am paying for school now. I don't have any time to mess up, and I can't mess around. That's the scary part. 

How did Ánimo City of Champions prepare you for college?

City of Champions has always talked about college from ninth grade to my twelve grade year. In ninth grade, They gave us a listing of GPAs and A-G requirements. It's always been in our minds for these four past years. The school has talked about college every year since I've been there. The staff definitely implant colleges as something or somewhere you need to go to if you choose to, and they always had college lessons and things like that. 

Do you have a favorite class that you really liked in high school? 

I will say my favorite class was ethnic studies. It's one of those classes for me as a Black student that I can relate to because it's basically about minorities and things that we go through and the disadvantages to certain people inside of society. So I will say that was my favorite class coming as a Black woman in America. 

What words of encouragement would you give the class of 2023 when they start applying to college this summer?

Don't put too much pressure on yourself because I will say one thing that I didn't do when I was applying to colleges: I didn't balance out my outside life with applying to colleges because I had a lot of things going on. I was in the Associated Student Body, and you know, all these things on campus, and I was not focused on one thing. I would say stay focused and try to balance them. And when applying to colleges, like if you don't get in, don't be too hard on yourself. It's okay; one college will always take you, so it's okay if you don't get into your dream school. You will still be successful in whichever college you go to. You'll be just fine. It's gonna hurt, but it's okay. College doesn't make you. You make college.

Is there any other advice you want to share? 

Oh, I want to thank Ms. Tyler Williams, she really helped [me] throughout all four years, and she has been there. Through every breakdown and every rage, she's been there for me no matter what. Ms. Williams is one of those people on campus who pushes you to be your best potential. She is why we all graduated, and she stayed on top of the entire class; she was just incredible. Every staff member and every teacher was like family. I would recommend any student go there, because you'll get the family feeling that they all care about you. They all care, so I'm happy I went to this school.