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DCP Senior Features: Aaron Veasna Mackenzie

DCP Senior Features: Aaron Veasna Mackenzie

Follow with us as we celebrate that the Class of 2021 is going to college! Here we share some of their stories and their motivation to pursue the college dream

Meet Aaron

High School Attended: DCP El Primero High School  
Colleges Accepted to: San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, CSU San Bernardino, Sonoma State University, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley
College Attending: UC Berkeley

Why are you excited to go to college?

My educational career thus far has taught me the basics of general education and how to conduct myself in an academic institution, but college will give me an opportunity to choose what and how I want to learn. I will be able to learn the skills that truly interest me, not only from taking classes specific to those fields, but also by meeting a myriad of enriching people and extending my reach to new opportunities to connect and enter a world of creative culture I have always wanted to be a part of. I will learn independence and take steps towards realizing the life I want for myself.

Who inspired you to live your dream of going to college?

I honestly don't think my direct inspiration was any one "who". It's either a "what" or a wide combination of "who's" that I couldn't ever specify to just one person. When I started high school I was an angsty teen with a lot of discontent for the world and the odds stacked against him and his peers; college was not an opportunity, but an obligation if I ever wanted to have a stable future. But as I grew and figured out what I wanted from life, as I interacted with incredible people around my school and the broader community and world, I started to value college as more than that. It is not something I have to do and have to stress over. It is something I get to do and have the opportunity to strive for and through.

What has been your motivation/silver lining during the pandemic?

To be truthful, college and education in general has felt like a blur the past year. The biggest hope is that the pandemic will be in a safe enough state that by the fall semester the class of 2025 can attend their respective colleges in person. So much of what I want from college goes beyond just the classes and the actual curriculum, meaning that so much of my hope for college is a broader hope for a better and safer future. I wish I had the frame of reference of a normal senior year to compare to how this year has been. All I can say is that it's been difficult, extremely so. A year of distance learning has taken away so much of the meat of education and left only the bones of classes without any of the socialization, the activities, the experiences, or life. It's even worse that it's at the end of our high school journey and that all our prior years built up not to some beautiful, stressful, memorable year alongside the people I'd known for so long, but to a quiet, lonely, uncertain limbo as the whole world seemed to crumble all around. College, like a lot of things in the time we've bided through the pandemic, is an investment in a hopeful future. Maybe that isn't so different from non-COVID times, though. No matter what there's going to be something difficult, something that feels impossible, and either way people like the students I've known at this school are going to work towards something better.

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