Author Archives: Joseph Esquibel

The Psych Student

Darius Long
Adjunct Instructor, Fitness and Wellness

As a first-year teacher, I really did not know what to expect since I would be working more independently. What I do know is that I wanted to be a tool for the students to be successful. Currently, my job is a lab instructor in the fitness center, but next semester I will have my own teaching section.

Beyond giving fitness instruction and explaining the physiological reasoning behind exercise, I see myself as an academic advisor. Surprisingly enough, there are many students who are undecided on their career path or not sure as to why they are on their current path. Sometimes there are students that know exactly what they want, and it’s quite exciting to see it unfold.

There is a student who was frequently in the gym. She usually kept to herself and did not seem too enthused about being in the gym. This was an opportunity to connect with the student. So I asked her the typical questions: How’s the workout going? Can I make some suggestions? My name is Darius, what yours? And what’s your major? She told me psychology. This was a segue into a conversation because a lot of student(s) who choose psychology do not realize it helps to specialize in something that will support the degree. She wanted to specialize in creative writing. Me personally, I like the idea of creative writing, but have never been a fan of fiction novels. When I told her this, she was intrigued as to why I did not like fiction. I told her “I would rather spend my time gaining knowledge than just fantasy.” As a psychology major, it appears she took this as a challenge.

After weeks of non-threatening interrogation, she unofficially diagnosed me as “pessimistic”. We often debated over opinion on hot topics from her class. She respected my opinion because it was genuine. It wasn’t always a debate. Sometimes the debate led to the why and ultimately what make us who we are. She ended up telling me that she didn’t grow up in the best of circumstance and creative writing was her escape. From this experience, I feel she will be a great Psychologist because she is detailed to other’s thoughts and feelings. Being open and receptive is an excellent “why” for educators to support their students’ development as a professional.

Finding Yourself

Joseph Esquibel

Many students go through personal journeys while in college. For most of these journeys, we are clueless about the twists and turns that are present on our student’s paths. It is eye-opening when they decide to share.

I met Alfonso during his first semester as an LCC student. He had just moved to the US and was living alone for the first time.

Many of the legs of his journey were heartwarming.

He was navigating how to cook for himself and keep his house stocked. Before this, he said he never thought how supplies got into his house, he remarked, “you just open the closet, they are just there”.

After a few missed assignments, I remarked that the US writes dates month/day/year and not day/month/year. His jaw fell to the floor and his mind moved at lightning speed, “so that’s why I missed” and before he could finish “…and so that’s why; …and that’s why!”

Many of the legs of his journey revolved figuring out sad truths about American culture.

One day he came into class shell-shocked. His tall, adult muscular frame had somehow been replaced with that of a child. He confided that he had witnessed a person get shot in the parking lot of his apartment. He stated “Nothing like this happens in my country”. The scene was on loop in his head and was preventing him from sleeping.

He mentioned he was surprised that his new friends used race as the defining lens that they viewed the world. He noted that his peers would treat him harshly if he introduced himself as an African versus as a Caribbean. “Why would people treat me differently based on where they think I’m from? It’s not like I am acting differently.”

At times, Alfonso seemed pushed to his breaking point. He was having difficulty adjusting to the rigor of American education. He mentioned that he was thinking of dropping out and moving back home.

It had been months since I had seen Alfonso and I feared the worst. But I spotted him on campus when I was leaving work one day. He mentioned that he had changed his major and was now thriving.

I find myself wondering how many of my students are on similar journeys that will play a central role in defining who they are. And we just don’t know it.