Denise Sandoval

“I’ve always volunteered at hospitals and homeless shelters, places where people can feel kinda lost and alone. It makes me feel good about myself to help others.”

Denise is the first to admit it. “When I started working at the homeless shelter, it was a little scary at first. You know? Sometimes people there have become a little crazy, because their lives have been so hard, and they haven’t had much in the way of meaningful interaction. But it’s also kind of cool, because you get to learn their stories of how they became homeless in the first place. And it’s also sometimes very encouraging, because you meet people who are determined to get back on their feet.”

In her first year at SMC, Denise could already report a lot of pleasant surprises. “A ‘community college’? Please! It’s all so huge and busy, and the variety of teachers and other students you meet here is incredible! It always feels like a totally social atmosphere, where people are just really busy and excited about what they’re involved in. And the teachers, themselves, may be some of the best ‘counselors,’ because they really like to keep their office doors open for you when you need some advice or just want to chat.” Denise adds, “Making a good plan before you start to study can make all the difference. You need to have a good strategy in mind. And the Nursing program here is a very strenuous one. But I know that if I focus and work really hard, I’ll get into a field where I’ll never get bored over the course of my life.”

It’s Denise’s plan to transfer to the University of San Francisco to finish up her studies. “It’s a small Jesuit school with an excellent Nursing program. And I think my plan to get there is a good one, coming from SMC. A lot of my friends went on to four-year colleges,” she adds. “But I know in my heart that I have every imaginable advantage as a result of coming here.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.​