by Greg MacDonald
In one’s life, a certain moment can be identified as being a turning point or a wake up call that can effect the rest of one’s life. Sometimes the moment is evident at the time, while other moments, the fraction of time has to be found.
For University of La Verne senior Karla Molina, her moment came from the experience of failure.
Molina, as a freshman, was a biology major. In order to fulfill her major requirements, she had to take chemistry courses.
Molina did not care for chemistry and said that once she took organic chemistry “it was all over.”
She had lost her will in the biology field. Molina felt that she was not going to be able to make it through the rough time, so she contemplated leaving school and going back home to San Diego.
“I did not see any alternative,” said Molina.
But as she walked around campus, Molina came across a homeless man. She says that the man was walking toward her and appeared to have something to say.
“He saw me and said, ‘You go to school here also? You look 15 or 16 years old’,” Molina said of her encounter.
But then the man’s message affected Molina in a way she will never forget.
The homeless man continued to talk to her and said, “You know what? Don’t give up, don’t think you are going to give up.”
Molina said she started laughing and smiling at the man as she continued walking. But just as she turned around to see the man walking beside her, he was gone.
“It was a movie-like thing when he disappeared. But I know it was a message from God. There was no way to get out of there. I know it was a sign,” said Molina, a practicing Catholic.
She used that sign as strength to continue forward and found happiness in psychology.
Molina, now a psychology major specializing in child development, said, “I got straight A’s in my classes. Anything in psychology I could take, I would take it.”
Molina’s senior project for child development focused on the learning behavior change. The project was to find stress and trauma in fourth and fifth grade children.
Molina did not only take classes, but she also got involved on and off campus.
Molina was inducted in the national honor society for psychology this year and was a member of the behavioral science club. She was also on the cheer squad for the past three years, two of which she was co-captain. Molina was involved in Spotlight Weekend and was a ULV Orientation Week Leader.
Work was also a priority for Molina. She worked four jobs this year: as a cheer coach at Pomona High School, at the ULV Law Library, as the ULV housing office’s coordinator, and she had an internship as a bilingual school counselor for the Azusa School District.
“I’ve been involved in just about everything,” said Molina.
But coming to ULV was almost not an option for Molina. Her parents argued with her for a month about coming here from her hometown.
“My family has been a strong support for me. I am the first to graduate from college. It is a big thing because women in our family don’t leave the house [to go away to college],” she said.
Her dad felt comfortable after he visited the campus and asked questions about safety. She said her parents also liked the atmosphere of La Verne and the people whom they met.
Her future was to have included psychology graduate school at Cal State Los Angeles, but she did not get into the program that only admits nine to 12 students from the 50 applicants.
So for now, Molina says she is going to take the year off from school and move to La Puente with her friend, senior Ana Mendez, next week.
“I am going to miss [ULV] a lot because this has been my home for the last four years,” said Molina. “I’m ready though. I’ve made a lot of good friends and built a lot of bridges to last a lifetime.”