Shanti Ellis “Santa Monica—Daigaku No Wa Desu!”

The sentiment below – literally ‘Santa Monica College is a good school’ – comes to you in Japanese from Shanti Ellis. And she’s excited about what she’s learning at SMC in her first semester. “I’m doing really, really well,” she says with unbridled enthusiasm. “I just got the highest grade on our Japanese mid-term, and I’m the youngest person in the class. I think Japanese is a very beautiful language, and I’ve met lots of friends who speak it. And the culture of Japan is incredible: I can’t wait to go there. It seems pretty clear to me that I’ll be going into translating. Or maybe,” she says with a laugh, “teaching English could be my ticket to Japan!”

Shanti definitely exhibits a lot of determination about getting where she wants to go in life. And she’s not above taking unusual steps to get there. “I’m actually in Culver City High at the moment,” she says. “But I was determined to get to SMC and get in on the college experience right now. I think people may have been skeptical at first,” she adds. “But I knew I was ready for this, and now I’m proving that I can take on the work and respond to the challenges. And in certain respects, I’ve become a lot more disciplined already.”

She was looking forward to the day when she could move to the SMC campus full time, but Shanti reported that already she felt that her plans for the future were accelerated. “It’s great to be able to study in a place where everybody works so hard; where people have their goal in front of them every day,” she said. “SMC, to me, is a place where all the doors are always opening up.”

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