Education Equals Empowerment

Delyla Shenavai is a senior at Cal Lutheran majoring in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies (IES). On campus, Delyla is a student leader for Student Support Services and an officer for Club Teach. She enjoys camping, going to Disneyland, and spending time with her family.

Delyla is inspired the most by her mom. She’s always known that her mom is a strong person, but she didn’t understand the depth of that strength. “I know that if she can persevere through what she has been through, I can do anything. She taught me the values that I still hold today and I am proud of who I am because of her.” She admires the fierceness her mom has for the people she loves and the things she is passionate about. Delyla hopes to be like her, as strong as her mom is.

On campus, the three SSS counselors have made the biggest impact on Delyla. Being a first generation college student was very scary for her, and she wasn't sure how to navigate things at first, but they really made school feel like home to her and made sure that she knew she could be successful. Elena, Katie, and Monica have helped her every step of the way. “Cal Lutheran wouldn’t be Cal Lutheran without SSS. I don’t think I would’ve liked it as much or enjoyed my experience as much without that extra support and family that they give you.”

When asked why she picked CLU, Delyla mentions that she decided on the school after taking a tour because “It had a very strong community feeling, I had a good feeling about it.” Mentioning how small the school is and that it reminded her of her high school made her realize that it’d help her make connections with professors and other students and that it would be easy it would be to get to know people around campus. Financially, the institution was a pretty good match for her and her family. She also felt that it was a good distance away from home, especially with how close she is to her family. Being able to have a community at school as well as being close to home was important. “I wouldn’t say Cal Lutheran was my top choice, but it was definitely the choice that was right for me.”

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Delyla decided she wanted to major in IES because for as long as she can remember, she knew that was what she wanted to do. She is at her happiest when in the classroom, and taking courses at CLU confirmed that for her. Delyla wants to be a beacon of knowledge for students as well as serving and guiding them on their educational and developmental journey; she hopes to teach students to love learning as much as she does. In Delyla’s words, “I think learning is so important and education is one of the most powerful and empowering things in the world.” Apart from majoring in IES, she is also minoring in psychology. She picked this minor because she feels like it compliments her major well; she wants to be the best teacher she can possibly be, and having this minor will help her with understanding her students more. 

When asked what her future goals are, Shenavai mentioned that aside from her goals of traveling, starting a family, and being a teacher, she also wants to be an advocate for climate justice. She’s very passionate about the environment and would like to share that passion with others by trying to make changes at any level possible. Her goal is to continue educating herself for her students and most importantly, be a well-rounded individual.

Spencer Davis Spencer Davis / Unsplash  

Reflecting on her time at CLU, Delyla mentions that this school year has been her favorite so far. This year she really wanted to commit and do everything she had been wanting to do but hadn't actually gotten the chance to do. She mentioned that she didn’t want to end up taking college for granted or regret not doing more. She wanted to be more involved, especially because it is her last year and mentioned how accommodating and easy it is to be involved on campus. Giving back to the community is important to her, especially because she has felt so welcomed while she has been here and she wants to help other students feel like that as well. An example of this is through Student Support Services’ summer bridge program, SOAR. Being apart of SSS and serving as a student leader has really helped Delyla reflect on giving back. 

Since Delyla is graduating soon, she describes it as a scary feeling but she feels very prepared for it, “I feel like the school and my major have equipped me pretty well.” She has a clear path of what she’ll be doing after graduating: working on the credential program here. “It’s scary graduating because I love the school and being in college so much, but all good things must come to an end. I know CLU is very big on finding your purpose, and I feel confident for what happens after graduating because they have helped me find and develop my purpose.” 

Delyla’s advice to current first year students is:

“Try to be informed and use the resources around you, they’re there for you and to help you with anything you need. So often, people don’t use the resources on campus but they’re honestly so helpful and there for you to take advantage of. And honestly, just like SSS, talk to your faculty advisor, go to the career center. Cal Lutheran really tries to show students that they care and gives the best to them. You aren’t really going to have such accessible resources after you graduate, so use them as much as possible. But most importantly, make the most of your four or more years here, it goes by really fast. College is your canvas. This is one of those unique moments in your life where you are given the opportunity to explore yourself and develop the person you want to be. Make conscious efforts to go outside your comfort zone and try new things, make mistakes, set goals for yourself, learn everything you can, and do more of what you like. College isn’t always going to be fun, but there is always something you can learn. You only get out what you put in.”