Students succeed despite pandemic challenges


Cameron Kirk and Carlos Mendez are two students who have succeeded at LMC.

With the spring semester winding down, many students are now departing from the Los Medanos College community. Students planning to transfer are receiving acceptance letters while graduates who plan on entering the workforce are finding their own path.  

Acceptance letters can feel like Christmas morning. Although the traditional physical letter is rarely received these days, acceptance emails sufficiently recreate the magical moment. 

Hopeful transfer students spend the entire span of the spring semester frantically opening their emails or student portals. It turns into a habit until one day, a message appears. Many emails begin with “We are sorry to inform you…”, but students are always hoping for “Congratulations, we are pleased to inform you…” to appear in their inbox. When that happens, feelings of pride emerge as each student realizes all their hard work has led up to that moment.   

Cameron Kirk has spent two academic school years at LMC and is now transferring as a Mathematics and Economics major.  

“I was accepted to UCLA but I’m still waiting to hear from UC San Diego,” Kirk said, “It’s hectic. There’s so many things I’m gonna need to do once I decide.”

Other students such as Rafael Quintero have already committed to their schools.  

“I’ve been looking to transfer to somewhere out of state,” Quintero said, “I decided on the University of Central Florida. It’s a nice location and I’m really excited to be chasing a career in graphic design.”  

Quintero graduated from Freedom High School just last spring but managed to get his general education done in a single year. 

Numerous LMC students will be joining the CSU system, including Jalene Harris. 

“CSUs are a really good option — in my opinion the best,” said Harris, “I’ll be at San Diego State paying less money in tuition than most other people at UCs. I think we are all lucky to have made it through academics during the Pandemic too. It wasn’t easy with COVID.” 

Some students use LMC as a means to a direct line of work rather than transfer. LMC offers Career Technical Education programs in automotive technology, welding technology, travel marketing and fire technology among many others. These programs are designed to get students directly into the selected career path.  

Carlos Mendez, an Automotive Technology major explained how frustrating that experience was during the pandemic.

“It was hella hard doing online classes during COVID,” Mendez said, “You got to be able to use your hands and some people who wanted to major in something like this just gave up.” 

Mendez added that sticking with it has paid off.  He is now working as an automotive technician in Concord and excited for the online graduation on May 22.  

For so many students, the end of the spring semester is a time to feel honored by their accomplishments. The past year has not been easy for those who have been limited to mostly virtual learning. But those who were able to adapt to the online environment and overcome the obstacles before them are now finding academic and career success.