Carissa Lane, 18, of El Dorado Hills, wants to be a teacher so much so that she is in the process of trying to change her college major from psychology to liberal arts.
“I want to be a teacher,” she said. “I volunteered in a second grade class in my senior year in high school for a whole year and I fell in love with teaching those kids so I want to try to change to that now.”
Lane said she since her junior year at Oak Ridge High School, she had always wanted to attend California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. In addition, her uncle gave the university high marks.
“So I kind of grew up knowing it was a good school,” she said.
Now, she is taking 14 units and has both night classes and early morning classes. She also has a ballet class. Although her schedule does keep her busy, she does have a four-day weekend every week.
Lane wrote in her scholarship application that at the age of 13, she was diagnosed with leukemia.
“Fighting leukemia taught me to turn a horrible experience into a blessing,” she wrote. “I learned to live life one day at a time and to the fullest extent. I no longer take those who are important to me for granted.”
As a student at Cal Poly she is doing just that and is enjoying life by the sea.
“The weather is always perfect,” she said. “Back home it would be like 30 or 40 degrees in January. Here for the last two weeks it was in the 80s. The town is a really cute small town. The beach is 10 minutes away.”
She added one difference she had noticed is that she had to adjust to being on her own — but is now used to it. She also had to adjust to the differences between college and high school. But Lane is up for the challenge.
“My experience taught me to believe in myself and to strive to accomplish my aspirations, because we only live once,” she wrote. “I realize my life is so special, and I am now more determined, driven, grateful, and ready to succeed in all of my hopes and dreams.”