Aide Najera is a freshman at Barnard College, an all-women’s liberal arts school with a unique partnership with Columbia University. As a first generation student, going to college out-of-state and away from her family was challenging; however, Aide is making the most out of her college experience and enjoying the journey.

Aide has been a Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano student since 2011. She served as a junior teacher for our summer program in 2016 and volunteered to be a tutor for our middle school students at Marco Forster. As a graduate from St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, Aide is dedicated to lifelong learning and leadership wherever she goes.

Although she misses her parents dearly, Aide is having a positive experience at Barnard College. She enjoys the autonomy that comes with being a college student, especially since she has not declared a major yet. Aide appreciates being able to choose classes that spark her interests and explore fields such as astronomy. Nevertheless, being newly independent comes with a few challenges. Aide says, “Something I wish I knew before starting college is that you need a lot more time management skills than in high school. You don’t just need to manage your time for homework and extracurricular activities. You also need to manage your time to do laundry, buy supplies, and even to eat.”

Aide enjoys going to college in a busy city. She says, “New York City is so different from San Juan Capistrano, and I’m really enjoying that. There is so much to do and so much happening at all times. Just last week, I met Aaron Paul from the show ‘Breaking Bad’ right outside our dorms.” Aide aims to fully immerse herself into college life, so she recently pledged Delta Kappa Alpha. She hopes to continue to grow more independent and become self-sustainable.

Breakthrough SJC is so proud of Aide, and we look forward to supporting her through college graduation.