For most of his life, Brian lived a nomadic lifestyle, as his family moved from place to place, in search of affordable housing. The lack of stability made it difficult for Brian to develop friendships. He rarely stayed at a school long enough to make friends.

That all changed when Brian was a sophomore in high school and his family moved to Melrose Villas in San Marcos and for the first time, Brian had his own room. The affordable housing community offered Brian and his family something precious, a home where they felt safe. “Living here has been more peaceful because in Escondido [where his family lived before], there’s a lot of gangs, and the environment there is just different,” Brian said.

In 2020, after graduating from high school, Brian was excited to begin his freshman year at San Francisco State University (SFSU). He would be the first one in his family to go to college. He was looking forward to breaking out of his comfort zone, putting himself out there, and making friends. Then the pandemic hit.

Despite the challenges Brian has had to face in his life, he always excelled in school. Now, the pandemic added another barrier to his success, remote schooling. Brian has never been to San Francisco, but he has finished his first year at SFSU, where he is studying civil engineering.

Since his dad works in construction, Brian has always been interested in building and civil engineering. Remotely, he took classes in chemistry, calculus, and physics. Although it was a challenge to learn chemical reactions by watching videos instead of actually doing the experiments in a lab, Brian has not had to deal with a crowded household distracting him from his schoolwork.

Brian hopes to attend SFSU in-person as soon as the campus reopens, but in the meantime, will continue taking classes online. A recipient of a Building Bright Futures Scholarship in 2020 and 2021, Brian is thankful for the scholarship and will use it to help cover the costs of room and board once he is able to attend classes in person. For now, Brian will stay in place just a little bit longer, for the first time eagerly anticipating a move that will start a new chapter in his life.

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