The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN student navigates academic career around pandemic

Rodrigo Hernandez

Josh Ancheta began his academic journey at CSUN in 2017 majoring in political science. Little did he know, reaching the finish line of graduation would be a test of resilience and determination. Born and raised in the Philippines, Ancheta moved to the United States in 2012 in search of better opportunities. His parents instilled the value of education in him in hopes it would guide him to a fruitful career.

“As an immigrant from the Philippines, college became a priority,” Ancheta said. “Education has been engraved in me, and I want to finish in higher education and make my parents proud.”

Ancheta took eight classes his first year at CSUN and maintained good grades. His friends were a significant part of his college experience and always supported him emotionally and academically.

“There were instances where I felt confused, being a new student in a big college,” Ancheta said. “I had a lot of friends and related to them, because I was not the only one going through this new experience.”

In 2018, Ancheta’s education was abruptly halted by a tragic car accident involving two of his friends. The accident claimed the life of one of his friends. Ancheta sustained serious injuries, including a bowel obstruction and nerve damage in his left arm. As a result of his critical condition, he was placed on bed rest and advised to prioritize his health, which led him to drop his classes.

Josh Ancheta does his homework at the University Library. (Rodrigo Hernandez)

After a year on bed rest, Ancheta returned to CSUN in the fall of 2019. But by the spring semester, the COVID-19 pandemic had started.

As a result, CSUN, along with other schools, was forced to halt in-person learning, opting instead for online instruction.

Facing a new environment, Ancheta found the transition to online classes challenging, which resulted in low grades.

“The online environment made my grades drop for a temporary period of time. Then I got the hang of everything, and my grades actually soared and were the highest they’ve ever been,” Ancheta said.

During online school, Ancheta discovered his hidden passions and talents. While taking Journalism 372, Media and Diversity, his love for writing blossomed. This led him to minor in journalism alongside his political science studies.

“I minored in journalism because of the topics I wanted to talk about. I grew very passionate as a political science major,” Ancheta said. “I wanted my voice out there. I have yet to develop my own personal writing voice, but I have a strong passion for writing about politics and our world leaders.”

Being home during the pandemic helped him excel in his academics and learn new things about himself. Writing was an outlet for him to talk more about the things he was concerned about, including problems in the Asian community.

With a strong head on his shoulders and a newfound interest, Ancheta returned to in-person learning at CSUN during the fall. Though the campus was not how it was before, he was happy to be in an in-person social learning environment. He became excited to start a new school year surrounded by his friends and create new relationships with his professors. One of his biggest accomplishments was learning he would be graduating in fall 2023. After college, he hopes to work in a newsroom writing about politics and community news.

“I feel my hard work is paying off, especially with school, to get a better education, to get a better career as a writer,” Ancheta said. “I want to go into the workforce as a writer. I wanted to go to law school at first, but I have a calling to be a writer.”

He has proved that even in the darkest moments, there’s still a chance to find a way to shine. His academic career has been a story of perseverance and carving new paths amidst hardships.

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