Nick Lee is an Instructional/Attendance Services Assistant II at American River College in Sacramento, California.  He graduated in 2016 from the University of California, Merced with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Writing.  He finished his Master’s Program at Sacramento State for Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in 2018.  Nick is an aspiring educator and leader r and is striving to develop student success by aiming for equity and equality for all students.

At UC Merced, Nick joined the Fiat Lux Scholars Program in hopes he would succeed as a first generation college student.  He then worked as a Community Scholar, Leader Scholar, and a Student Coordinator with the focus of being a peer mentor.  Nick’s passion for writing was also rediscovered at UC Merced as he decided to minor in writing during his second year.  He then took the opportunity to pioneer the Fiat Lux Scholars Program’s monthly Newsletter, serving as an editor, writer, and designer. During Fall of 2014, Nick applied for the Instructional Assistant position for the Merritt Writing Program in hopes of assisting students and continuing his passion for writing. As an Instructional Assistant, Nick has been entrusted to assist professors of an assigned Writing 10 course while also hosting tutoring services at the Writing Center. In 2016, Nick’s creative writing piece, Dear Mr. Comma, was published to the UC Merced Merritt Writing Program’s journal, The Vernal Pool.

At Sacramento State, Nick began the pursuit of his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in Fall 2017 and finished his degree in Fall 2018.  During his time at Sacramento State he was able to develop equity reports, understand the role educational administrators play in TK-12 school systems, and understand the need to pursue equitable educational environments while using best practices to aid and support students.  His culminating project/thesis was focused on developing effective partnerships between colleges and high schools, specifically with high school college readiness programs.  Nick was invited to present his study at Sacramento State’s Multicultural Educational Conference in March 2019.

“3 by 30”

Nick served as an Instructional Assistant in the Reading Across the Disciplines (R.A.D) and the Writing Across the Curriculum (W.A.C.) program at American River College.  He provides reading strategies and overall student success in the R.A.D program while also providing writing consultations in the W.A.C program.  Nick also aids students at the local high school, in conjunction with his position as an Instructional Assistant, in the AVID and CECA programs.  Additionally, he provides classroom support for reading and writing programs.  Nick hopes to pursue his Single Subject Teaching Credential in the future in hopes that he can begin teaching at the high school level.  His goal is to achieve “3 by 30,” in other words, he wishes to pursue and obtain his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees by the age of 30.  His lifelong career goal is to serve as a Principal or a Vice-Principal for a TK-12 school.

Be sure to check out Nick’s LinkedIn Page 

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The White Wall – Chapter 1: Memories

Arnold stared at the white walls of his living room. He anticipated that Julie would leave him, soon. And one day she finally did. He began to isolate himself from the world; he jammed his windows shut with his curtains tightly snugged together never allowing the slimmer of light into his home. Yet, every day and night, Arnold fueled his fireplace, but the light was dim and barely stretched out past the two bricks cemented into the floor. His home was barren, nothing more than mounds of trash bags, the smell of rotting food sitting in the kitchen, and several brown boxes stacked on top of each other. Crumbs, dirt, and leftover food were scattered across the home, molding as each second ticked on. He foresaw the ending of his marriage, but for many nights since the ending of his marriage, Arnold sat with only a blanket covering his bare back, facing the wall as he glanced at the framed memories. He always held a sense of hope with the memories. And he thought that maybe his marriage didn’t really end, and that everything was only an illusion or a nightmare. Maybe, just maybe, one day he was going to wake up to the sight of his wife and daughter. But tonight was just like every other night—neither his wife nor daughter were there to comfort him, there were no weekly TV episodes being watched, no family dinners, and no goodnights.

And much like every night, Arnold sat in the middle of his living room with only a blanket covering his bare back. He looked at the memories and saw them play out in his head. The memories of he and Julie’s first kiss, their second kiss, their first wedding dance, their second wedding dance, their first child, and a blank frame with only the inscription “second child” written on the bottom. Arnold and Julie wished to have another child, but their sudden end in marriage halted that wish. The memories were all Arnold had left of Julie and their daughter. But tonight, the framed memories were more than just memories, they became something real.

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Never Stop Believing

In 2012, I was the first in my family to walk across the stage for my high school graduation.  Four years later, I became the first in my family to graduate from college. And now, three years later after my Bachelor’s Degree, I will be the first in my family to walk across the stage to receive my Master’s Degree.

I grew up in a working-class, immigrant family.  As my parents worked, my grandparents watched over the children.  Five of the seven days in a week, I would never see my parents at all.  It seems chilling to believe that for most families out in the world right now, this happens all too often.  And reflecting back, I realized that it was happening to me.  My brother and sisters had failed to capture this lucrative object in education, a high school degree.  Two of them dropped out, the other was two classes away from passing and getting her degree, but did not want to take them during the summer.  Yet, they pushed me to get an education, they pushed me to better myself and to create a better life for our parents, and they pushed me to understand the importance of education.  And honestly, they pushed me hard.  Failing a class was not an option in my mind, but they understood and accepted it and even went out of their way to make sure I could pass a class.

My niece and nephews are always encouraged by their moms and dads to come to me for advice on school, to ask about college.  And while I may not know every answer that they ask, I hope that I am able to serve as a role model for them.  Like many parents, they hope their children can turn out to have a better, more meaningful and happier life than they did when growing up.  Maybe, just maybe, out of the working-class, immigrant family that we grew out of, my brother and sisters pushed me harder than they did themselves was because they wanted me to have that “better” life.  But most importantly, they wanted their children to have a different lifestyle as the one they experienced growing up, a better one.  And having someone to experience something similar to that or close to that, they wanted to have a guide to help their children to better themselves.

The pressure was always on and I always felt that my foot was on the gas pedal, going a bit too fast, since middle school.  And sometimes I may have forgotten to experience life as I was too focused on reaching the finish line.  Regardless, the journey was tough.  So, for those who are experiencing this journey, whether by yourself or with others, and you’re feeling a bit down.  Don’t stop believing.  Don’t stop dreaming.  Don’t stop learning.  And more importantly, don’t forget to experience life.  This journey, the road you face is what makes you, you.

But never forget, once you’re at the end of your journey, help others in their journey.  Help them believe in themselves too.

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5 Tips To Follow For Your First Week of College

This post was originally submitted on 17 October 2015 on Dear First Generation Students. The original post can be found here.

Your first week of college will probably be a twister of emotions, experiences, headaches, and names! From moving in and seeing your family go back home to meeting brand new people. The first week of college can be either a pleasant one or an unpleasant one filled with confusion, awkwardness, or even great memories. So, here are 5 tips that I’ve provided to help you push through your first week of college.

Tip #1: Introduce yourself. Now, for those living off-campus, it may be difficult but you can always find ways to introduce yourself at events. For those living on-campus, it becomes easier because you’ve been given an advantage. You live with other people! First, accept the fact that you’ll forget names, but don’t be afraid to ask others for their names again. You can even be sneaky and ask them for their name, and when they mention it, just let them know you wanted to know their last name. Don’t be afraid to go around your residential halls and knock on doors and introduce yourself. A simple, “my name is and I am from this place, majoring in this subject. What about you?” Anyone and everyone you see, just say hi and introduce yourself.

Tip #2: Go to every event possible. Along with introducing yourself, you definitely want to join in on the events happening around campus. Go to the college’s Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or even look at their website. Chances are, they may be promoting some sort of event. Go to these events! Introduce yourself! There may be a possibility that a person you meet at these events could help you during your college journey, whether they’ve been at the college for several years or just starting out, just knowing you’re not alone can help you in the long-run; you can journey the experience together.

Tip #3: Explore the town/city. You may come across a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or a great shopping outlet. There will be times later in your college journey where you may want to go out and have fun, or watch a movie, or just unwind somewhere. Exploring the town at the very beginning can help you find a place of entertainment such as the movie theaters, or just a personal place where you can de-stress.

Tip #4: Variety can help in the long haul. Being adventurous, trying new things, or just stepping out of your comfort zone can help you build yourself as an individual and as a student. Rather than sticking to what looks good at the Dining Hall, try something new! Go to an event that you could never imagine going to—maybe it’s karaoke night! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It’ll be difficult at first, but trying to do so at the very beginning can ease the process later on.

Tip #5: Explore the campus! Even if you explored the campus during orientation or move-in day, explore it again! Do a dry run to classes. See how long you need to take to walk, run, or take the bus to class. Make sure you know where all your classrooms are. This way, once classes start, you won’t look like that person who’s pacing back and forth trying to find their classroom.

These are my 5 tips for the first week of college. What do you think? What can you add to the list?

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Coming Up With Story Ideas

Original Image: Disability Thinking (

We all have hundreds of thousands of ideas for imaginative stories, but the moment we sit down to write, they somehow disappear. Or sometimes you across a great book or a movie and you think to yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?” Writing a good story is one thing, but coming up that story idea, you’re entering a whole different world. So the question is: how do I come up with a great story idea, or just an idea to write about?

Read: Coming Up With Story Ideas

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The Brave Little Spud

About the Piece

The Brave Little Spud is a written speech from the point of view of a couch potato describing the art of relaxation and taking care of oneself. The speech criticizes how individuals forget to relax while praising the overall idea of being a couch potato, or a spud in this case, as not a bad idea as individuals need to find time to relax and be lazy. Enjoy the read!

Read: The Brave Little Spud

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