Ciana Jacobson retired as a Lancer in 2015 and is now studying abroad in Rome, Italy for her senior year at UC Berkeley. Ciana recalls herself being a student at Cordova as “extremely academically oriented” as she was an IB student, state competitor in the annual History Day, and a member of the Mock Trial Attorney Team. She was also involved in a number of other activities including varsity soccer her freshman year and Key Club her final year.
During her first year at Berkeley, the English major joined a college lifestyle publication where she experimented with journalism. She describes it as, “…an excellent outlet for writing about my experiences as a first-generation college student, and what’s it like coming from an under-served population.” She then went on to become secretary of a small club that raises funds for refugee families. One of the most rewarding experiences she had so far was when she worked for a local nonprofit as a high school counselor for low income, first-generation students.
For fun, Ciana loves to learn languages. She’s studied Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and hopes to learn some Japanese before a visit to Tokyo next year. She enjoys reading, discussing politics, going out with friends, makeup and beauty, discovering new places and spending time with family and her precious dog Opie.
She revives an instance where Ms. Linares helped her become someone who tackles challenges head-on. As someone who struggled with math, she told the teacher that she wanted to take her senior year easy and not advance to AP Calculus. Ms.Linares reminded her of the value of taking a challenging class, and it was the first step toward what would come in college courses. She is grateful for the push that led to a jump into higher education.
Now in a penultimate semester, Ciana is venturing through Rome, an opportunity that was previously unimaginable. “It’s allowed me to improve my critical thinking skills, my sense of independence, and my understanding of a culture and society so different than the one I’ve grown up in. Not to mention, being able to communicate with Italians and order pizza, of course.”
She wanted to push herself beyond her comfort zone, and studying abroad was the prime chance to do so. Italy was her country of choice because of its beautiful sights and history. “Anywhere you turn in Rome, you’re bound to find an amazing Medieval church, ancient Roman ruins, or breathtaking Baroque or Renaissance art. So many layers of history and beauty are concentrated in Rome…” Ciana spoke of her travels. Her choice was set after taking an Italian language class. To her, the language is fun to learn, charming, and she wanted to use it on a genuine conversational level.
Ciana’s advice to current Lancers is simple: find what motivates you. Persevere through whatever life throws at you. Use hardships as a reason to push harder towards your goals. She advises students to take high school seriously, as it’s more important than most think. “…no one regrets getting good grades, but everyone regrets never knowing what could have been had they tried harder. So set your goals high, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.” She recommends figuring out what you’re passionate about, joining a club, and making tons of memories along the way.