Upcoming Seniors: Tips and Tricks at Our School


Image by Angelina Martinez

Angelina poses for a photograph uploaded on December 25, 2020 to Instagram.

Upcoming seniors of Mt. SAC Early College Academy provide useful tips and tricks to aid other students in their academic journey. With the unique qualities of our school, Angelina Martinez understands the struggles of balancing college courses, high school classes, extracurricular activities, healthy lifestyles, and family obligations. Regardless of your interests, the advice of upcoming senior, Angelina Martinez, will thoroughly aid in preparing for your future.

Angelina Martinez is a student of Mt. SAC Early College Academy. As an upcoming senior, Angelina is the WCUSD Board of Education student representative for Mt. SAC Early College Academy, president of the Associated Student Body, president of the American Red Cross Club, president of the Hack Club, treasurer of the Book Club, treasurer of the Online Computer and Technology Club, secretary of the Music Society, secretary of the Wolf Den peer tutoring program, treasurer of Interact, and a member of the Timberwolves Changing Stigmas organization. Additionally, Angelina is enrolled in various college classes, including macroeconomics, business law, and trigonometry. Along with these responsibilities, Angelina enjoys practicing Jiu-Jitsu, learning Muay Thai, and attending a boot camp class at her local gym. Despite her obligations, Angelina has maintained a 4.0 GPA and peer tutors Ms. Yao’s Integrated Math 1 class. How does Angelina juggle the responsibilities of her academic, personal, and professional career? According to Angelina, the secret lies in her experiences.

The biggest challenge that Angelina has faced in achieving goals is herself. Angelina explains that “[l]etting my self-doubt and what others think or say about me has been my biggest obstacle because I overthink my actions or convince myself that I can’t do it.” For those experiencing a similar challenge, Angelina recommends maintaining a

As the Associated Student Body president of Mt. SAC Early College Academy, Angelina Martinez showcases “Fall Spirit” during “Fall Spirit Week”. (Angelina Martinez)

positive attitude, developing a growth mindset, and surrounding yourself with individuals who have your best interests at heart. With positivity, a growth mindset, and the support of her parents, Angelina flourished and encourages others to do the same.

In achieving academic accomplishments and personal prosperity, Angelina advises maintaining a list of what you need to accomplish that day, retaining a clean workspace, staying organized, removing distractions, finding a creative outlet, and studying.

Angelina especially stresses the value of determination, “if you are passionate about what you want, it makes accomplishing that goal feel so much more exciting and it is almost like your determination consumes you, in the best way possible.” In fact, Angelina once struggled with keeping a work-life balance, allowing school to overrule family and “me” time.

For those struggling with maintaining lifestyle stability, set aside time to do something you enjoy. Though this may prove difficult due to various assignments, projects, or activities, taking breaks and focusing on yourself has changed Angelina’s life completely. “Don’t stress, you will get that work done eventually! You are a person before a student,” she explains. “[I]t will help your productivity to come back to your work with a clear mind after a break.”

Especially during distance learning, students often struggle to separate home priorities from school work. “[I]n order to help combat the blur between work and home life while distance learning, I will only work at my desk and if I want to spend time on my phone or talk to my friends, I will move to my bed or another area of my room,” Angelina says, “I have found that this helps me stay productive when I need to be and limits my distractions.”

Self-care is another essential factor of success many students ignore, including Angelina. “[When] I need a break from school or the amount of assignments I have gets overwhelming, it helps to take a step back and instead do something I will always enjoy to motivate myself,” Angelina states. “For me personally, my outlet is working out with my sister or calling my friends to catch up and laugh a lot.”

Angelina poses for a photograph after providing the Mt. SAC Early College Academy board report to the WCUSD Board of Education on October 27, 2020 through Instagram. (@mtsaceca)

Angelina particularly advises studying, asking for help, and maintaining an open mindset: “Our community is full of students, staff, and administration that will be happy to help you understand the material or provide support if you need it. If I can help in any way, feel free to send me an email at [email protected] too!” Additionally, she encourages putting yourself in new situations, never getting too comfortable, and always telling yourself that you can improve or that you are not there YET. “The keyword being “yet” because this means that you are telling yourself that you CAN reach your goals which will increase your motivation and performance level in ANY setting” Whether academically, personally, or professionally, these recommendations will help you lead a healthy and organized lifestyle.

As a counselor of Mt. SAC Early College Academy, Ms. Mentar understands the strengths, weaknesses, and possible improvements of students. With her experience, Ms. Mentar believes the most common mistakes and weaknesses of students is procrastination, proficient time management, and lacking organizational skills. Oftentimes, “students wait til the last moment to complete tasks, assignments and/or projects,” Ms. Mentar elaborates, “if students leave work off to do another day, this can build to become overwhelming to the point of immobility. What I mean is many times students leave one assignment for later and then another and another and soon the assignments are so much that the student feels anxiety to the point where they are unable to get themselves out of this situation.” Developing optimal time management skills and organizing assignments will allow students to efficiently manage their workload and lessen the anxiety and stress associated with procrastination.

“[T]he first step [in developing time management] would be to map out/ plan their semester out as far in advance as possible. Now no one can plan everything, but you can prepare yourself for when teachers give you unplanned quizzes/assignments etc.,” Ms. Mentar explains. “For students, you would put in your school schedule but also, indicate time to complete homework, time to work on and eventually complete assignments/projects that may be due later and free time to relax.”

Through schedule-planning, students may effectively complete tasks, reduce stress, and estimate the amount of time it takes to complete certain assignments. For example, “[some] students may be good at math, so for math it may take 20 mins as opposed to say english which may take 45 mins. Each student needs to know this of themselves enough to schedule appropriately.” As all students are unique, they must find their own methods of reducing procrastination.

Nevertheless, it is important to practice staying on task as much as possible, limiting distractions, ensuring that your work space is clear for school and homework, being consistent and persistent, asking for help, and communicating with your teachers on a regular basis.

Ms. Mentar is the counselor of Mt. SAC Early College Academy, providing useful advice to students during their academic journey. (Ms. Mentar)

“Teachers need to know how you are doing and if you understand the material,” Ms. Mentar states, “Especially during this virtual time, communicating often with teachers is important. These are all habits that can help students later in their careers and in life. Strong time management skills including organizing and planning your schedule translate to success in maintaining your everyday finances/bills, house and job/career.”

From finding a creative outlet to managing time efficiently, these recommendations will thoroughly improve your professional, personal, and academic career. Despite Angelina Martinez’s and Ms. Mentar’s varying experiences, they agree that organization, time management, determination, communication, learning, and adaptability are vital to excelling. “It may be hard at first, and you may think your goal is out of reach, but with practice and determination, you can do ANYTHING,” Angelina assures.