End of the beginning for Rodriguez


Cambria Rodriguez, history major. She will be transferring at the end of the semester and will be walking at the commencement ceremony on May 16. She will either transfer to Cal State Fullerton or Cal State Dominguez. Photo credit: Denny Cristales

Denny Cristales


Give or take a few days from graduation and school is still just as stressful now as it was three years ago for Cambria Rodriguez.

Just asking her if she is stressed will probably prompt her to say a resounding “Hell, yeah.”

But the history major is managing to transfer out of Cerritos College and graduate despite the juggling game she has been doing since she began community college.

Rodriguez will be walking in the commencement ceremony at Falcon Stadium on May 16 after concluding her community-college tenure after three years and receiving two AA degrees.

Balancing jobs and side hobbies, she barely finds time to focus on school.

Jokingly, she still finds the time to procrastinate, she said, even when being bombarded with so many things at one time.

“Everyone says don’t procrastinate, but I do it anyway,” Rodriguez said.

“I think I do better under pressure. So, I guess you could take from that, that when you are under pressure, just knowing from my experiences that I do better under pressure, it pushes me to dig myself from out of that hole and rise up better and stronger and quicker.”

It’s all “super stressful,” but to go along with that stress is also fear.

Finishing community college has its own challenges, at least for Rodriguez, as she is split between transferring to either Cal State Fullerton or Cal State Dominguez.

She has been meeting with counselors to decide what is best for her and her path. Adding on to that “scary” feeling is just the thought of going to a campus where everything is literally bigger with even bigger stakes.

“It’s scary because I got comfortable here,” Rodriguez said. “Everything about it is scary.”

Regardless, she’ll find a way to accomplish the task the same way she did with community college: desire.

Being busy, Rodriguez said she is always asked how she manages to go to school full-time with all these things under her belt.

She has a simple response.

“If you really want it, you’ll make time for it,” she said.

“You’ll do your best to achieve your goals without anything getting in the way. I have a lot of jobs, I do a lot of side things outside of school. Everyone asks me, ‘How do you do it?’ It’s because I want an education. If you want it, you’ll make time for it. No excuses.”

Jesse Avalos, an anthropology and forensics science major, is a friend of Rodriguez and notes how determined she is in everything she approaches.

“I think she is a perfectionist,” he said. “She works hard toward what she is working for … I’m sure her vigorous effort and ambition will not go unnoticed.”

She has opted to walk at the commencement ceremony, citing that “I’m getting two degrees, I better walk.”

Her parents are excited at the thought of knowing that she is graduating, even going as far as throwing a party, but Rodriguez feels it is an unnecessary courtesy.

She still feels like she’s not done.

“I’m just like ‘No, let’s just wait until I get a bigger degree,’ you know? I mean, Associate’s is accomplishing something, and of course it feels good to have something under your belt, but, I don’t know, I just don’t feel complete yet. It’s another reason why it’s scary. ‘You’re graduating, congratulations.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m not done yet.’ I have like six more years of school. It’s barely the beginning.”