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Student Spotlights

Monopoly: Playing as a Pro

Paola Galvez

Like most people, although Monopoly took part of my childhood at some point, I would have never thought in a million years that I would become a professional Monopoly player. It all began in sixth grade when my teacher, a nationally ranked competitor, showed me the proper rules and strategies of the game. I played the game with classmates during free time and my interest in it rose. My teacher trained me to compete in the local tournament that he hosted annually and I went on to winning, alongside my team, that same sixth grade year. After moving on, I continued participating in local tournaments which eventually led me to a national tournament. After seven years, I have played in six local tournaments, one California state championship, and one tournament in San Jose, California at a park where the “World’s Largest Permanent Outdoor Monopoly Board” is located. I have won four tournaments and I aim to continue increasing my successes in the future. Although I appreciate the game because there are never two games that are the same, one thing that remains consistent with me is the token that I use. Since the near beginning, I have used the same iron token for all of my games no matter the occasion, even in all of my tournaments. My passion for the game has also led me to collect up to forty eight Monopoly games of various themes.  For me, Monopoly is not just a board game, it is a lifestyle.



Paola playing Monopoly


Study Abroad as Self-Discovery

Yazmine Hernandez-Aragon

Quite frankly, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into, all I knew was that I was hanging onto the hope that I could make something out of the unknown. Thankfully, I did, but it took a lot on my part to understand that I was capable of doing it on my own without my usual support system. Studying in Japan, I not only learned the language and culture, but also what it meant to create my own adventures, to branch out my roots in places I had only ever dreamt of and to fully step into the long journey of adulthood and independence.

Japan was all that I thought it would be, yet it was all that I didn’t know it could be at the same time. Learning the language was rough, being alone was even more so, and finding the hope that it would get better was the hardest thing of all. However, it took getting physically lost at a train station to understand that if you fear it all, there would be nothing left for you to enjoy. I learned how to navigate, how to admit that I needed help, how the unexpected and unplanned could be so much fun. Things weren’t perfect, but through the imperfections I saw wonders I’ve never even heard of, tasted food unfamiliar to my palette, spoke the words of a language I  doubted I could ever speak and most importantly, at least in my eyes, was become a sister to someone else despite all of our differences.

Yazmine with her Japanese sister

Interning at a Wildlife Sanctuary

Alison Connor

Over Fall Quarter, and still ever so often, I intern at a private sanctuary that houses many wild animals such as lions, tigers, coyotes, raccoons, deer, bears, foxes and etc. This internship has been really rewarding as not many people get the opportunity to come face to face with some of these amazing creatures, some of which have actually paid a visit to Hollywood once or twice. Many of the animals I have worked with have been trained to star in movies some of which may be familiar such as: Into the Wild, Homeward Bound, Austin Powers 1-3, White Fang 2, Tarzan, David and Goliath and many more. A lot of the work involved maintaining upkeep, feeding, and building relationships with the animals. Though it may seem simplistic, it was not. As wild animals, or any animal for the matter, are unpredictable. Building a relationship takes countless hours to ensure not only that you trust them, but that they trust you too. This is crucial because it is not a safe job by any means. Every time you interact with an animal, especially ones three times your size, you are at risk for getting injured. Having said that, if you are well trained and aware of your surroundings and the animal’s behavior at all times you can typically prevent these things from happening. One of the main jobs I was put on was working with juvenile coyotes and getting them used to human interaction so they could be used safely to star in upcoming television productions. This job required walking them, feeding them, teaching them to obey commands, and playing with them daily to keep their temperament down. By the end of all this I had built such a great relationship with one of them that he would often come sit on my lap, beg to be held, bathe me in face kisses, and even take selfies with me. I encourage anyone that is serious about their careers to find internships or volunteer opportunities within that field because it not only gives you a taste of what your passions are but also motivates you towards success.