By Alexia Franco

I took a couple classes at Columbia College during high school, but this is my first official semester in college. I am now at risk of losing the opportunity to attend Columbia College throughout November and December because a strike may occur.

I support faculty; our professors have such an important role in our education. Without all the amazing faculty in my life, I would not be able to take on five classes, with a total of 17 units, as well as working 16-plus hours a week to support myself.

These men and women use their precious time to help their students with any questions they may have, even outside of their allotted work time. So why does the district want to increase class sizes without giving these outstanding professors a significant increase in pay?

While I do support the strike if the district does not provide a fair contract for the faculty, my ultimate wish would be for the district to settle the contract fairly so that a strike does not have to occur at all.

I moved out for the first time in the last month and am relying on financial aid to support myself along with my job. If the strike occurs, who knows what is to happen? Would I need to pay money I have received back?

I also receive money from the VA because my mother served in Desert Storm and was disabled. I get paid per month, so if I do not complete my classes with successful grades, do I pay that back as well? Would I not receive enough to pay my rent and bills and potentially end up homeless?

I am a first generation college student. I am taking a risk with putting my all into college: the chances that I will graduate and transfer from Columbia College are only 7 percent. The district would be lowering my chances even more by allowing this strike to occur.

I am a student is who is trying to climb out of the hole that statistics say I am likely to stay in, and it is immensely frustrating that the district seems to be pushing me back into that hole.

I have managed to maintain As in all my classes this far into the semester. I was able to obtain some scholarships, which means others believe in my ability to succeed. I have managed to overcome the statistics. This strike may make it nearly impossible for me to continue to thrive.

I hope to become involved in either mental health, journalism, or politics. I want to help others, whether that be with their own individual issues, informing the public with an unbiased position, or working to find solutions for the community we all love. I can do none of this without the proper education.

Students are the main concern at the moment and the reason the strike is even happening.

Alexia Franco is 18 and is double-majoring in psychology and sociology at Columbia College.

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