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Students visit booths at resource information fair in the University Student Union during Dog Days. (Daniel Avalos/ The Collegian)

Dog Days offered students a glimpse of their future

Summer: the long-awaited rest period when college students pick up full-time work schedules or get ahead on units and save the weekends for traveling with friends or binge watching Netflix series in the dark.

For newly graduated high school seniors now officially college freshmen, June and July was a transitional period in which they kissed what was once familiar good-bye and journeyed their way to Fresno State where their new chapter was set to begin.

The Collegian sat down with three incoming students during Dog Days orientation to meet the new humans of Fresno State.

“It’s really nice because I get to have a feel of what’s going to happen next year,” freshman Alek McDowell said. “I’m a criminology major, and I’m going to do the Air Force ROTC [program].”

McDowell said he wants to join the military after graduation. He realizes he can fulfill his dream through the program at Fresno State.

Times weren’t always so easy for McDowell.

“High school was a lot of hard work, a lot of perseverance. Times were tough, but it’s all about going towards a goal.”

Now, McDowell finds himself at Fresno State where the slogan is “Be Bold.” To him the phrase means being confident in oneself.

“Be strong and just pursue your goals. Don’t let anybody drag you down,” McDowell said.

Michael Sanchez, a Lemoore native said he plans to change his major to biology. “The first major I picked was actually not really clinical. I wanted to change it to something more accurate,” he said.

Sanchez said he wanted to go to school where he’d be close to family.

“I didn’t want to go too far, plus my mom would die without me,” Sanchez said.

His mom said it’s true she would be at a loss.

Rosamaria Jaramillo, Michael’s mother, stood by him when she said,. “I think it came too quick in life. I think the hardest part for me is seeing him move out of my house and into Fresno.”

After graduation, Sanchez said he wants to join the Army and become a doctor.

“I’ve always had an interest in the Army, and my girlfriend’s dad is a doctor and it kind of inspired me to follow that path,” he said.

Sanchez’s mom said she was apprehensive when he said he wanted to join the military because although he would be a doctor, the opportunity to be deployed is a possibility.

Chris Sanchez, Michael’s father, said his son has his plan together.

“There’s a lot of kids who don’t know what they want in this stage in life, but he’s already got a plan in place, so he’s already ahead of the game,” Michael’s father said. “I’m proud of him.”

Briana Rose Hernandez, a political science major and Bakersfield native, said she was inspired to pursue her major because of her experience in her high school’s mock trial team.

“I played the victim a lot, so I had to do a lot of crying,” Hernandez said.

She added, “I feel like victims are kind of silenced because they’re too afraid to get involved. Mostly because the character I had to play was an immigrant. With today’s immigrants being silenced, I felt a lot of emotions playing that character.”

Hernandez said she wants to join groups on campus who advocate for immigrants’ rights. She also said being bold is to be oneself.

“I’ve never really been a follower,” she said.

During Dog Days, incoming Bulldogs were separated by major and led by Dog Days orientation leaders to different workshops and presentations.

For George Cardoso, orientation leader and senior criminology major, this was his second summer with Dog Days. He found himself taking on a stronger leadership role this year.

“Since I’m a returner, I find myself answering questions instead of asking questions so it’s a lot of responsibility in teaching the new guys the ropes,” Cardoso said.

It’s humor and energy that helped Cardoso facilitate the morning ice breakers. This new leadership role has helped him grow as a person, he said.

“Personally, I gained the ability to talk to people. I learned how to talk to people, how to relate to people more and just kind of not to judge people. Everyone is coming from a different place and a different background,” Cardoso said.

Maya Castellanos, orientation leader and junior, used her major in deaf education as a subject of interest to connect with her group of freshmen.

“There was one girl that didn’t really know a lot about deaf education but decided that she wanted to major in it,” Castellanos said. “That was pretty exciting for me to see somebody that might follow into my career path.”

Castellanos also offered advice to incoming students on their first year at Fresno State.

Castellanos said that although it sounds cliche, she hopes the the students get involved and find their niche at Fresno State.

“It’s such a big campus, but if they can find that one club, that one department that they really click with, then they get involved and make their mark here.” Castellanos said.