Downward Spiral to an Uphill Climb

Tristin Beery is a first-generation college student from a low-income family. After graduating high school in 2017, Beery began taking classes at Cuyamaca while working full time. “I had to support myself a lot,” said Beery.


Working full-time while attending school eventually took a toll on Beery’s grades. By Fall 2018, had failed four classes and left Cuyamaca with a 1.4 GPA. Beery decided it was time to move on from college.


At the beginning of the pandemic, Beery’s life took a 180-degree turn. His full-time job was unable to be completed remotely and Beery was at home with time to think about his future. “I felt like this (education) was a chapter in my life that I left incomplete,” said Tristin. He did not want to be “part of a statistic” of people who drop out of college and never go back.


More Than Just an Instructor

Beery remembered taking an “Intro to Political Science” class with Dr. Josh Franco which he says is the only class he did “relatively well” in. It was a discussion based, small class with only about ten students. Originally a theatre major, Beery credits Franco’s class for igniting his passion for politics.


Beery reached out to Dr. Franco for advice on starting fresh at Cuyamaca. “I reached out to Dr. Franco and said ‘hey, I’m wanting to come back, but I think I might need help’,” said Beery. It was the support and accountability Beery got from Dr. Franco that ultimately pushed him to re-enroll as a full-time student.


Work in Student Government

That semester, and while attending remotely, Beery showed a significant academic improvement which gave him the confidence to become more involved in the campus. “Dr. Franco’s class actually encourages participation in clubs,” said Beery. One of the assignments in Dr. Franco’s class required students to attend club meetings, which is how Beery became involved in Associated Student Government (ASG).


Now ASG President, Beery serves as a liaison between the student body and Cuyamaca faculty and staff. His work entails attending meetings where he acts as the voice of Cuyamaca students. “It’s been an incredible experience,” said Beery. This experience on Student Government aligns with Tristin’s future goals of joining the United States Senate.


After commencement, Beery will transfer to SDSU where he expects to complete his bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He dreams of working at the American embassy in Japan, and then return to the US where he hopes to run for public office.