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‘You and me against the world’: CSUB grad loses mom during pandemic, but uses her memory to keep going | News

When Nicole Escalante graduated from California State University, Bakersfield on December 16th and began her educational career, she remembered her mother’s memories and graduated with her favorite color (purple) flowers. I will put a photo on my hat. Two people holding hands and one line of Helen Reddy’s song: “You and I are against the world.”

“It was my mom and mom’s song, and now it’s also our song.”

When millions of people across the country withdrew to their homes in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Escalante and his family were recovering from unimaginable sadness. Escalante’s mother, Sherry, died unexpectedly at the age of 52.

“The world was closed on Thursday and my mother went to the hospital that Monday.”

Mrs. Escalante’s condition had nothing to do with COVID-19, but it was just as mysterious and sudden, her daughter said.

“They said it was a virus in her heart that she probably had for months,” Escalante said. “We were just shocked.”

Despite the tragedy, and in honor of her mother, Escalante refused to deviate from her goal of graduating from CSUB early. With the help of the professor, she took a few weeks off and rejoined her classmates with the guidance of a new virtual world.

“The closure of the world was a disguised blessing,” said Escalante, who said her brother was able to return to Bakersfield to spend time with her and her father Tim. “We all had the opportunity to just be together here and not have to worry about missing schools or missing jobs.”

When her family reunites at the Mechanics Bank Arena and cheers for a liberal arts degree escalator, they also hesitate a young woman who has endured a lot to take these steps throughout the stage. Celebrating a never-ending spirit: Pandemic, two mothers and grandparents have died in the last 18 months.

“My mother lost her father at the age of eight, her brother at the age of 26, and her mother in 2006. She lost everyone. Everything we experienced, my mother even more. It got worse. But if you met her, you would never guess it. She was the most fun and happiest person. I want to be the one who helps people break through the darkness. is.

“Because that’s what my mom did.”

Escalante shared her story at a recent event at CSUB to celebrate the fall 2021 seniors graduating in less than four years.

“When Nicole began talking about the loss of his mother and his focus on getting an early degree as a homage to this remarkable woman, the audience had no dry eye,” said CSUB’s Lynnette. President Zelezny said. “At CSUB, there is a way to describe students like Nicole: Resilient.”

“I was always a teacher’s pet.”

As far as she remembers, Escalante wanted to be a teacher.

“When I was little, I was obsessed with becoming a teacher when I was playing, and I didn’t want to admit it, but I’ve always been a teacher’s pet, but I really hate it in my freshman years. I was very influenced by my teacher. I realized that I didn’t want to be that teacher because I was always a good student and I couldn’t work with him. “

Over the past few months, Escalante has had the opportunity to introduce a teacher just like her to a sophomore class at Norris Elementary School, and to herself. She said she learned as much as a 7-year-old child in her class.

“I really enjoy the era,” she said. “They are still sweet. They have a lot of respect for you.”

Lisa Smith, a CSUB graduate and an elementary school teacher for over 30 years, has a sophomore classroom next to Escalante.

“Nicole is almost like an old soul,” Smith said. “It’s as if she was with us before. She just jumps in.”

A CSUB graduate who has been teaching for 16 years, Melisa Bright is an Escalante mentor in the classroom. Escalante teaches students during unusual times of education, as even veteran teachers struggle to adapt their students to direct instruction after more than a year of virtual learning. Said.

“The negative thing is that Nicole can’t experience what we do in normal years, such as having parents here, helping, and doing many pending activities.

“But the pros say that if you can come in and handle this, you’re okay, because it’s easier to get back to normal.”

Smith reiterated Bright’s assessment of the challenges facing teachers and students today.

“What is it when you take a life of 7 years and wipe out a year or two of it? A quarter of their life? You can retrain them and they can sit down. But reassure them that they can learn. But they are not really sophomores. They are not sophomores of self-confidence or nature. They are in need. They are emotional. I think they fled in murder when they were taught online. “

“If I have a goal, I’m very good at pushing myself.”

Once started, Escalante will provide another semester of student education before qualifying for multiple subjects, just as it did when earning a bachelor’s degree. Escalante recognizes the achievements of the pilot program he participated in when he entered CSUB.

“Instead of choosing each class, they gave you three options and you chose the schedule you like best. We chose the one that allows you to graduate early,” Escalante said, with more than 15 units per semester. I said it was piled up.

“If I have a goal, I’m very good at pushing myself to get there. I knew that taking a break or spending time comfortably would be disappointing. It was feasible for me, and if it was feasible for me, it was feasible for many people. “

Vernon Harper, President and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, praises Escalante’s ambitious workload, and the CSU system’s top priority is that students graduate in four years, the longer it takes to get a degree. Said to encourage that. There is a risk that students will be discouraged and leave school.

“The Graduation Initiative 2025 is CSU’s visionary action plan to change the course of higher education and increase graduation rates,” said Harper. “We dedicate all resources, all programs, and all expressions of support to student success so that they can navigate the undergraduate course in four years, which is unprecedented in higher education. And we are seeing tremendous results. “

Its support supports Escalante wrapped up days and weeks after her mother’s death. She acknowledges academic adviser Dina Hallmark, who jumped in to warn Escalante’s professor of the tragedy, and the faculty and staff willing to work with her on assignments and deadlines.

Escalante also received support from her longtime employer Luigi’s Restaurant & Delicatessen and her boyfriend Andrew.

But it was the love of her intimate family that helped her. Escalante is a house built for his wife when her baby was three years old and lives alone with her father. It was the “dream house” of the parents, and the mother was the center of the house.

“I know I’m an adult, but my mom still reminded me to do the laundry, make dinner, and write notes. And my parents were together for 33 years. So my dad didn’t know how to live his life on his own. “

But Escalante said their deep Catholic faith was comfort and the latest addition to the family: her nephew Harrison, the first grandson of her parents.

As the family moves forward with what Escalante calls her “New Normal,” her dad, brothers Timmy and Ryan, and sister-in-law Christine gather around the family’s baby to pay tribute to Escalante’s patriarch. I’m really excited about it.

“My brother will come back to see my graduation,” Escalante said.

“And the next day, they gave me a trip to Disneyland. I love my family!”

Jennifer Self is a spokeswoman for California State University, Bakersfield.

‘You and me against the world’: CSUB grad loses mom during pandemic, but uses her memory to keep going | News Source link ‘You and me against the world’: CSUB grad loses mom during pandemic, but uses her memory to keep going | News

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