Do you know that more than 10 percent of Lumberjacks are transfer students? For National Transfer Student Week, Oct. 17-21, get to know Yendira Pineda, a senior who transferred to NAU two years ago from Estrella Mountain Community College. Pineda is from Buckeye and is studying business management with a minor in psychology. Read our questions and her answers below.
Why did you come to NAU?
I chose to transfer to NAU because I wanted a change in my life. I wanted to challenge myself. Coming to NAU has given me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, explore what Flagstaff has to offer and to meet some amazing people. Not to mention, I was tired of the Phoenix heat and when I heard you can experience all four seasons in Flagstaff, I just had to see it for myself.
What has your experience as a transfer student been like?
The process of transferring to NAU itself was quite challenging and overwhelming. Being a first-generation Latina student, I was entering this new chapter of my life by myself. I had no idea where to start. It wasn’t until I met Deeda Webster, student service coordinator from Estrella Mountain Community College, that things started changing. The moment I walked into her office, I knew I was in good hands. She guided me throughout the entire transfer process, provided me all the financial aid resources, kept me updated every step of the way and reassured me that everything was going to be okay.
In terms of how it’s been here at NAU, I’ve got one word: amazing. I transferred in Fall 2020, a year which we’re all too familiar with. Despite living in a pandemic, I told myself I was going to make the most of my time here worthwhile. At the time, I lived with my best friend; it felt great knowing I had her support and guidance. That also meant I wasn’t entirely alone and that I could piggyback off her every now and then. I also had a Transfer Peer Mentor, who I’m glad to say has become one of my closest friends here at NAU, who provided her unconditional support. Having her as a mentor has made me feel connected, encouraged, confident and welcomed. Thanks to her, I’m now a Transfer Peer Mentor myself and get to work alongside her. Who would’ve thought? Throughout the past two and a half years, I’ve met some incredible people who listen to me, put a smile on my face and motivate me everyday.
What do you want to do after graduation?
That’s a great question! Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure. I work in the W.A. Franke College of Business Career Development Office; they have been a great resource for me to start conducting research on companies, filling out their job applications, and connecting with them throughout the semester. One of those said companies is The Walt Disney Company. My hope and goal one day is to work within their HR and Diversity department. If it isn’t obvious, I am a huge Disney fanatic! Disney has been in my life for as long as I can remember, and I must thank my grandmother for that. So yeah, go big or go home, right? Just like Walt Disney said himself, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
What do you wish people understood about the transfer student experience?
I wish people understood that the transfer student experience can be a time of confusion and feeling lost. As a transfer student, you already know what is expected of you academically based on your previous institution. And then upon trying to transfer, you are stuck going through the whole application process again, which sometimes may require extra steps and delay your entrance. Not to mention, upon arriving, you’re trying to navigate where everything is on campus and adjust to the new environment. You see students who have been here since their first year in college, enjoying their small groups of friends, having a great time and here you are, not knowing where to belong or who to connect with.
Tell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today.
I can’t think of one specific childhood memory, there are too many to count. That being said, any memory I have shared with my grandmother is beyond impactful. She has been my biggest supporter since day one. Throughout her whole life, she has been this strong, resilient, and independent boss woman and has given me advice on how to be a “mujer chingona,” badass woman, like herself; to live your life to the fullest without anyone telling you what to do and bringing you down.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh god, I went through so many phases. When I was younger, I played with these plastic dinosaur toys and told myself I wanted to be like the dinosaur man from the film ‘Jurassic Park’, hence my paleontology phase. The next phase consisted of me wanting to be a doctor. I began watching these medical shows alongside my mother and found the medical industry fascinating. Next, I narrowed the medical field to being a pediatric doctor. That idea eventually scrapped because I realized I have very little patience around kids. We then shifted fields drastically and thought, “How about becoming an FBI agent?” Similarly, my mother and I watched these crime shows and found the whole crime fighting industry fascinating and action packed. I then went back into the medical field and considered becoming an ER nurse. In case you haven’t noticed, I was quite indecisive.
What have you been most proud of this week?
This week I was part of organizing and executing the Transfer Jacks S’mores and Stories event. I’m proud of the fact that we had a great student turnout and that students were able to connect with one another. It brought our motto to life, “Come alone, leave with friends.” Shout out to the Star Wars Club for providing a show for us.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
My favorite way to spend a day off is staying indoors and watching movies and TV shows. I’m a sucker for the horror, suspenseful and mystery genre. So, any recommendations I get, I take advantage of my days off to catch up and continue looking for more.
What are three things on your bucket list?
Three things on my bucket list are:
- Go skydiving
- Travel to Greece, Italy and Spain
- Visit the Warren Occult Museum
What is your philosophy in life?
My philosophy in life would be to do what makes you happy and never think it’s too late to start your life. You have your whole life ahead of you, there’s time for you to explore your interests, do the things you love most to do and to try new things. Don’t hold yourself back because you need to please or do what others tell you to do. This is your life, you’re in control. Be happy, that’s all that matters.
It’s not just Flagstaff—a whopping 84 percent of NAU Online students are transfer students. Learn more about the Transfer and Online Connections office, read their latest blog and join any of the below activities to celebrate National Transfer Student Week.