Dancing to the Beat of Her Own Drum

Ariana Sanchez, known as Ari, graduated from Cal Lutheran in the Spring of 2017 after transferring from Moorpark College. During school, she was usually juggling two jobs on top of extracurricular activities such as being a Presidential Host and a Student Leader for Student Support Services. She was a tutor for elementary to middle school aged kids and a Crime Analyst Intern for the Oxnard Police Department while she was in school. She has worked for Target Corporation in Human Resources for four years but has been with the company for a total of seven. Currently, she is working full time as a Program Assistant/Data Coordinator for Interface Children and Family Services’ Reentry Services. Her favorite things to do when she’s not working is reading, taking dance classes, and spending time with her family. Ariana comes from a family of four; her, her mom, dad, and younger brother Alex. Ari is a dog mom to four dogs: one malti-poo, two chihuahuas, and one pug that’s now her four legged angel in heaven.

Fun Facts about Ari:

  1. She loves pasta and could eat it every meal if she could.
  2. She has visited New York City three times and will never get tired of visiting.

Her Campus Cal Lutheran: What was the hardest part about being a transfer student?

Ariana Sanchez: At first I didn’t know what to expect; coming in as a transfer you don’t know anyone. People already have their own friends and know people from classes; the unknown was kind of hard. I like being comfortable and I was already comfortable at Moorpark College; coming here threw off my schedule I had going on. Once I got into SSS and the SOAR program, every fear that I had, even the whole friends aspect, disappeared. I listened to all the informative panels, and I knew then what CLU was all about and what it had to offer me. I made friends during that week so I knew that I was coming in with knowledge and a good group of friends.

HCCLU: What do you think about your decision to attend CLU?

AS: My decision to come to Cal Lutheran was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.  Through Cal Lutheran not only did I get everything I needed and more for my academic and professional career, I walked away with an even bigger support system.  I was a part of the Student Support Services program on campus and met lifelong friends, mentors, and my boyfriend Danny to get me through anything that I would academically, emotionally or mentally endure in the years following.  I wouldn’t change that decision for anything!HCCLU: What did you major in while at CLU and what made you decide on that specific major?

AS: I majored in Criminal Justice and minored in Psychology. I chose Criminal Justice when I was at Moorpark College; I knew I could do a lot with it and I’m a big people person. I really liked the versatility of it and the ability to have different focuses with the major; you can go into law, law enforcement, or social work and all of these three topics have appealed to me. It was an easy choice for me at the time to do that. I felt that Psychology went hand in hand with my major, with understanding people and such; I have always liked those classes.

HCCLU: What internship did you do for Criminal Justice?

AS: I interned at the Oxnard Police Department as a Crime Analyst Intern the summer before my senior year; I was there for three months and worked sixteen to twenty hours a week. I assisted the two crime analysts in the department with procedures such as crime mapping, I went to court with them, and I went to police briefings. I job shadowed an officer by doing a ride along and also shadowed a crime analyst; she showed me police reports of ongoing police investigations and insider information about criminals that were going to be arrested that day. I did plenty of office support for the commander at the time; I worked on a project for him that he had to present for the police briefing the following week, compiled a whole bunch of data and read through five years of police reports looking for key words and getting information together with the case number and the officer who did the report. I had to put all that information in an Excel sheet and send it to him in order for him to present it.

HCCLU: How has life been since graduating?

AS: I graduated Spring of 2017. After graduation I have been figuring out what’s important to me and what I want to do with my life besides school since it consumed most of my time. I didn’t take the time to figure it out which means more time in the long run. I’m still trying to figure out if I want to go to school and continue my education. I have been focusing on myself and my mental well-being. Leaving college was stressful for me personally because I am a person who likes control and when you leave school you lose that structure. I struggled with figuring out my next step; for a while I made myself feel kind of bad because I did not have a next step and I was still unsure of what I was going to do. I felt kind of worthless for a little bit, like I didn’t have a strong hold on my future. I am currently taking a lot of time to spend time with my family, go to classes, read, research, read up on people who appear like they have it together, and just things that are fun to me which has helped a lot.

HCCLU: What’s your favorite memory from CLU?

AS: My senior year, I was a Student Leader for Student Support Services. I helped with the SOAR Program in which we got to lead a group of incoming students for a week. I had the transfer students who were all different ages and were in different stages in their lives. The whole week was really fun, for me as a leader, and for them as new students. My favorite memory was at the end, seeing the team grow, within just one week, those who weren’t social butterflies started talking more. On the last day we had a picnic and they were thanking me; I even cried because of all the nice things they said. It was amazing to see the impact you have on someone in the short time you’ve had with them.HCCLU: What’s your dream job and why?

AS: I think any job where I feel like I am making a difference with other people, that highlights my strongest abilities, being able to provide for my family, and give back in some way; any job that fulfills those requirements I would be happy with.HCCLU: Who has inspired you the most in life and why?

AS: My parents because although they have high expectations of me; they have given me the flexibility to get to where I want to be and to discover it all on my own. They have always let me figure out my path on my own, and were there for me. Whenever I’m having a hard time, if it’s a job or school work, they are always there to listen and give advice instead of just telling me what to do. They have always told me to push through and remind me that I’m a hard worker. “If there’s hard work, you will have results.” My parents have always pushed me to succeed, further my education, and do things that make me happy; they always encourage me and are there for me whenever I need it.HCCLU: Who’s your favorite person and why?

AS: Alex, my brother. He was born with Down Syndrome and has a tetralogy of Fallot and AV Canal which means that there’s a defect in the heart, kind of like a hole in the heart. He had surgery when he was just eight months old. Throughout it, he was the happiest baby and until this day he is still super energetic. Alex is always happy and motivated. The kid does every single sport: baseball, soccer, flag football, etc. Whenever he’s listening to music he starts dancing. Literally anything that he wants to do, he can do it. He defies all stereotypes that people may have of people with disabilities. He’s the most loving person I know and he is just somebody that looks at life like it is his stage. He owns literally everything that he does. A lot of people don’t have that because of confidence and Alex has all the confidence in the world.HCCLU: Do you have any piece of advice for current undergrad students?

AS: Always put 110% into everything you do, in school and anything that you do outside of school. Take the time to breath, enjoy life, and live in the moment. Don’t get caught up in the stress of school. In the end, always remember to do things for you, don’t do them for anybody else. Take the time to figure what’s best for you. Getting a high paying job right out of college or applying to grad school won’t always happen right away. Remember to take care of yourself and your mental and emotional well-being. Do something that you like, nap or meditate, so that you don’t feel like you’re always running around, lost and stressed.

HCCLU: What’s your favorite quote and why?

AS: “I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.” One, because I have danced my whole life so the quote already appealed to me. My cousin gave me this quote on a board as a birthday gift. That quote kind of embodies what life is, you can be thinking you are going one direction and you aren’t. You can fall down, but with the dancing aspect, you’re still living in the moment, and what each moment is teaching you.