Students aren't the only ones scared about going off to college. Often times it's their parents who are even more nervous about the little birds leaving the nest. 

To mitigate that fear, Bakersfield College invited both students and parents to its New Student Convocation Tuesday to learn more about what is available at the college before the first day of school Monday.

Several student clubs and resource centers set up booths on campus to recruit new members or to explain what is available to students and parents, Bridge to BC Director Kimberly Bligh explained.

"We wanted to get families here and see what their students will experience," she said. "Most times parents have the most fear about their child going to college and not the student."

Other activities included a scavenger hunt with prizes for the first 17 students to complete it, free dinner and a big welcome from President Sonya Christian, Bligh and other college officials. Parents, students and faculty members recited an oath to each other, promising to give it their all the next few years.

"I'm trying to get involved, meet new people and get my questions answered," said Melisa Hernandez, who wants to pursue early childhood education, when asked why she decided to attend the convocation. As she toured several booths available, she said she did not find a club that stuck out to her, but she was not going to give up.

Her goal for her first year at college is to develop better habits. 

"I need to do homework on time, study more — because you don't really have to study in high school — and try not to procrastinate," she said.

Evelyn Verdejo, a music and theater major, said she is most looking forward to pushing herself academically and having people get to know the person she most wants to be: an entertainer. 

"I want people to support what I do with singing and acting," she said. "I also didn't graduate with honors or achievements in high school, so I want to do it here."

For many of the parents who attended the convocation, they were excited to see what their children would be diving into next week. Bill and Yumiko Devine said their son, Kaih, is their third child attending college, so while they generally know what to expect, they are still going through a new experience.

"This is a new adventure. He's doing a college sport which our two daughters didn't do, so he's taking his own route to success," Bill Devine said.

Kaih Devine will be on the swim team, and he hopes to get close with his teammates. "And maintain your grades," his father added, with a laugh. 

This summer, incoming students got a chance to participate in the college's Bridge to BC program, which Bligh described as a one-day "get ready for college bootcamp." Students had the opportunity to interact with peers, student and faculty mentors to learn more about the transition from high school to college, participate in hands-on activities, discuss ways to overcome college barriers and talk about the road to success.

Having the convocation available is just another way to ensure a successful start to the school year, according to Bligh.

"This is an amazing thing, it's the highlight of the year for me," she said. "I know how scared they can be ... and my goal was to create an event so that everyone in the family can join in on the adventure that they'll have the next few years."

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