Black Collegians/African American Studies
“When you get to SMC, go straight to a club that has advisors and counselors. People that will know your name and take the time to help you get through it all.”
“I don’t think I would have applied to all these colleges if it weren’t for all the counselors at SMC, especially Sherri Bradford. Counselors are a major strength at this college,” said Chidera Izuchukwu, in her third year at SMC and preparing to move on out and get ready for grad school. “The Black Collegians, the Latino Center… You don’t have to be a minority to join up, because they’re all here to help everyone. I mean, I drag all my Jewish friends to the club and tell them, ‘Hey! You don’t know what you’re missing!’ They crack up about it now, but they do love our meetings.”
Chidera had, so far, been accepted by UC Irvine and San Diego State. “But just now I’m feeling a strong case of ‘senioritis’ coming on, you know? Like, you’ve done all this hard work, and you just want to get it over with!” But it would seem like there’s bound to be a lot more academic ‘heavy lifting’ in Chidera’s future. “In my first semester at SMC, I took an African American History class, thinking, ‘How hard could it be? I already know all that stuff.’ But it actually opened up a whole other side of me, and it’s now become my passion. I was studying with Professor Clayborne, and he incorporated both modern and older stuff in his classes. Always with clarity. And he also gave us projects so that we could pick up some extra credits. I’m not the greatest test-taker,” said Chidera with a mock groan. “But Professor Clayborne was always willing to work with me, with the result that I ended up with an A for the class.”
Chidera, who’s lived “all over the East Coast and in Nigeria, where I have family” now calls herself, “just a typical Californian, I guess.” And it’s teaching that’s her ultimate goal. “We’ll just have to see about that PhD,” she said with a laugh. “But I’m just one of those people who never gives up. If there’s a barrier in my way, I know I’ll always come up with a strategy to conquer it.”
Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.