‘Palomar made it possible for me to earn my Bachelor of Science in a highly challenging field.’

SAN MARCOS — Jose Valencia graduated high school in 2007 like so many other students: not knowing what to do next, let alone what to do with the rest of his life.

Fast forward 12 years, and Valencia is now on the cusp of a career in electrical engineering, having graduated from California State University, Long Beach in May with his Bachelor of Science.

The road to earning such a challenging and highly technical degree began at Palomar, Valencia explained during a recent interview on campus.

“I remember getting my first A in one of the history classes here—that’s what got the ball rolling,” he said.

Valencia remembers enjoying mathematics; pursuing his interests, he enrolled in Intermediate Algebra at Palomar and soon decided he wanted to become an engineer. Before he was done, he would take nearly all of the upper-level math classes here, including Calculus and Differential Equations.

While at Palomar, he also learned how to tutor other students—a job that would carry him through his undergraduate experience at Long Beach. In all, Valencia would spend four years as a math and engineering tutor between Palomar and Cal State Long Beach.

“It felt good to come full circle, from not being a good student to being a tutor by the end,” he said. “I got to help a lot of students.”

As a student in Long Beach, Valencia got off to a rough start.

“Later, I came to find out, that’s normal in engineering—you may have to repeat a class, or you may barely pass, depending on the professor, but you may learn more,” he said.

He said nothing ever came easy to him in college, and he remembers his first math teachers at Palomar with special fondness.

“Palomar is where I feel I got my real education,” said Valencia. “I had the best professors here.”

Now 30 years old, Valencia has moved back to his hometown of San Marcos and said he likes his prospects: “There are a lot of electrical engineering jobs in San Diego County. Right now, I’m just starting my job search. I’m ready to get my career started.”

He also plans to earn his master’s degree. But for now, he said, he is content to enjoy the fruits of five demanding years of higher education.

“Palomar made it possible for me to earn my Bachelor of Science in a highly challenging field,” he said.