Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Grossmont College student Trevor Jacobs refuses to let the blows in life keep him down

“I’m a prime example of a Grossmont College success story”

- Trevor Jacobs

Trevor Jacobs
He commuted more than two hours on buses and trolleys for his shift at a warehouse before embarking on another two-hour public transportation journey to school. Money was so tight that he couldn’t afford textbooks. And he’s been HIV-positive for the past five years.

But Trevor Jacobs never made any excuses. And now the Grossmont College graduate is transferring to Cal State Northridge to further his studies in American Sign Language en route to becoming an interpreter.

“I’m a prime example of a Grossmont College success story,” said Jacobs, 24. “I got a lot of advice, I was offered a lot of resources. You can’t really ask for more. The college will support you and carry you and help make your load a little lighter.”

His achievements were recognized at a recent awards ceremony as a Student of Note, an honor reserved for those who have successfully battled a plethora of obstacles to reach their educational goals.

Jacobs first enrolled at Grossmont College in fall 2008 after graduating from El Cajon Valley High School in June.

“I declared a biology major because I thought I wanted to become an anesthesiologist just because they made a lot of money,” Jacobs said. “Then I realized how much math was involved and decided anesthesiology wasn’t for me.”

With that, Jacobs enrolled in an American Sign Language class, trying to brush up on some skills he had picked up as a young child in elementary school. “I took that first class and that was it. I was sold. It was in my heart to become an American Sign Language interpreter.”

He earned his Associate of Science degree in American Sign Language while picking up an Associate of Arts degree in University Studies – Communications and Language Arts.

Jacobs notes that he’s an average student – when it comes to grades. But average students don’t have to overcome the obstacles he has overcome. Working long hours to support himself and studying at night at the campus library because he couldn’t afford textbooks were just two of the challenges he’s faced.

In 2010, he was diagnosed as being HIV-positive.

“I never looked at it as a death sentence,” he said. “I looked at it as another challenge, another ladder to climb. I’ve been taking my medication and I feel fine. I’m not going to let it stop me.”

Jacobs’ advice to others?

“Anyone who is unsure about who they are or what they might want to become, you just have to keep moving forward. Don’t look back, don’t look at the past. Look at the future.”