Melissa Curiel

“SMC is making me grow up in ways that I didn’t think that I’d ever be able to. I’ve discovered that I really just have to believe in myself.”

Her family hails from Mexico and, since arriving, has discovered many avenues to learning. “My parents are very proud of what I’m doing because I’m in college, and a lot of my friends never got to do this. And they both managed to get their GEDs, so I’m pretty proud of them, as well,” said Melissa Curiel in her second SMC semester. “Right now, my life is all about discovering college, seeing how it affects my life, and adjusting to how very new it all is.”

Melissa makes the long slog from Boyle Heights—five days a week—to get to her SMC classrooms. “Sometimes it’s pretty hard to get up at 6 in the morning. But I’m learning a lot about what kind of schedule works for me, and how to manage my time better. And I’m also learning a lot about what it means to be a student; focused and determined. SMC was my choice because it has a fantastic Dance program and an incredible transfer rate,” she continues. “So it’s my plan to transfer to UCLA, challenge myself, and see if I’m capable of doing things that I never dreamed were possible.”

Over her summer sessions at SMC, Melissa discovered that she has a genuine passion for Communication in general. “People think that mass media, advertising, and TV have little effect on their lives. But they do! And I believe that what I’d like to do—after some sort of career in media—is to become a professor and teach others about what I’ve learned. There are times when I get to school and I’m, like, ‘Ugh! I’m so tired,’ ” she says with a weary laugh. “But once I get to the College, I just say to myself, ‘Okay. Time to get to work! Maybe after a good cappuccino...’”

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