Jalaal Dirbas Found the Best Version of Himself at CCC

Jalaal has pretty much always known about Contra Costa College (CCC).

“Both of my older siblings went to Contra Costa and attended Middle College. There was also a program at my high school, De Anza, where students and reps from Contra Costa would visit and tell us about life and academics at CCC. They were pretty convincing, so I decided to attend,” Jalaal recalls.

As a first-generation college student with a 3.65 GPA, numerous academic achievements, and mentorship roles, Jalaal exemplifies the perseverance of CCC students.

“My dad emigrated from Palestine to pursue the American Dream,” shares Jalaal. “He overcame poverty and language barriers in order to give a better life to his children. My motivation, dedication, and academic achievements are because of my parents.”

With two internships and his first year at CCC successfully under his belt, Jalaal is on his way to completing an associate’s degree in computer science.

“My goal is to get my associate’s degree then transfer to a four-year university. I might take a third year so that I can concentrate on extracurriculars and get involved with student government. I’ve been taking 17 units, which is a really full load, so it’s been hard to fit extra activities into my schedule this year,” explains Jalaal.

“I plan to transfer to UC Berkeley, SF State, Cal Poly, or San Jose State. There’s a lot of different career opportunities for computer scientists, but my goal is to get into programming or software development.”

Jalaal took advantage of the FT3 program, which stands for free tuition for first time, full-time students and the First Year Experience program at CCC.  

“These programs really helped me transition to college,” Jalaal says. “The First Year Experience put me in touch with other first years. It’s been great meeting new people and having friends that are also trying to figure things out.”

In 2020, Jalaal was awarded the Contra Costa College Foundation General Scholarship and the Genirberg Family Scholarship.

“I’m so grateful for these scholarships,” shares Jalaal. “These generous awards will allow me to really focus on my studies and get involved.”

Jalaal encourages folks considering applying to CCC to just go for it.

“Contra Costa is an amazing place,” Jalaal says. “The faculty make classes enjoyable, and I feel comfortable knowing that the student support services are always there for me.

“And don’t be afraid to take multiple years. Take time with your classes. Participate in clubs on campus. I’ve been able to find the best version of myself by taking things at my own pace.”