Are you ready to start your educational journey at the Merced College Los Banos Campus, but unsure what classes to take?

Our Counseling Department is staffed with an array of experts in areas of personal, educational and vocational/career development. Counselors assist students in making progress toward their programs of study and assist in ensuring appropriate coursework is recommended.

We also have specialized counselors assigned to support services and programs, such as our Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), Disabled Student Program & Services (DSPS), Foster Youth Center and CalWORKs.

Appointments with our counselors can be scheduled online or by calling (209) 826-3495. Virtual walk-ins are available, but we do highly encourage obtaining an appointment.

Monica Mendiola is one of our adjunct counselors. She’s been working at Merced College for four years. She has served as an adjunct counselor/professor for about one year, and the previous three years she worked as an Outreach & In-reach Specialist. We asked her a few questions about herself and her advice for current and future students.

Why did you choose a community college as your career path?

Community colleges offer students a tremendous opportunity to positively influence the trajectory of their future — including their families and future generations — which they may not have been given if it weren’t for community colleges. I feel honored in being part of those students’ journeys.

What part of your job do you enjoy most?

I enjoy the energy that happens within the counseling office. Sometimes students will come in feeling frustrated or intimidated, but my hopes are to foster a cultivating experience where students can feel optimistic and empowered with their decisions.

What is a fun fact about you?

A fun fact about me is that I also practice in the mental health/therapy field as a Professional Clinical Counselor working towards licensure. I am passionate about supporting individuals struggling with their mental health striving to live a better life.

Do you have a community college connection or story?

I enrolled in American Sign Language at Merced College a couple years ago while being a staff member! It was a great experience being on the other side as a student. I engaged with my classmates, some of whom I helped enroll in courses as a staff member.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I always love reading a good book, being outdoors, moving my body through physical activity, spending time with my partner and loved ones, and playing with my cute Frenchie and Chihuahua.

What advice would you give a Merced College student?

Do not be afraid of failure or to make mistakes. When you’re at an institution like Merced College, you have a wonderful support system along the way: various professors and student services staff. There is no better time to make those daring decisions for your future!

Prior to being a counselor, Monica was an Outreach and In-reach Specialist at the Los Banos Campus, helping students with their applications, orientations and programs. Monica will be teaching our High School CCAP Guidance 30 Foundations and Strategies for College Success class this fall for students in Dos Palos, Los Banos and Pacheco High Schools. If you see Monica on our campus, say hi and feel free to ask her any questions you may have!

The Westside Express