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Colleges Spring Into New Semester Action

Kevin Lustina, Romeo Yere Jr. and Julius Mojica sat cross-legged in a circle on the quad at Ventura College on Tuesday, slowly dealing hands for a card game they called Russian poker.

But none of the three community college students from Oxnard seemed too concerned with the challenges facing them on their first day of class.

“It’s pretty easy so far,” said Yere, a 19-year-old freshman who hopes eventually to transfer to San Diego State University. “This is just the first day, so we don’t really have to do anything.”

For thousands of others, however, the first day of the spring semester at Ventura County’s three community colleges meant the beginning of another four-month exercise in juggling the demands of school, work and recreation.

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“This is my second year here, so I’m pretty well settled in,” said Tristyn Jorgensen, a 19-year-old sophomore who signed up for math, philosophy and a chemistry lab.

“I missed my first class because I had problems with scheduling,” she confessed. “But I went and got all the homework.”

Jeff Marsee, vice chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District, said early reports indicate that enrollment for the spring semester is down about 4%. But he said the low enrollment could benefit some students.

“That should give them the opportunity to get many of the courses they are seeking,” he said. “And we’re encouraging new students still thinking of late registration to consider us.”

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At Oxnard College on Tuesday, 29-year-old Lauren George of Oxnard was waiting outside her afternoon chemistry class.

“I kind of followed my professor over here from Ventura College,” she said of chemistry professor Kevin Bratten. “He’s a very good instructor and easy to understand.”

Nearby, Chalee Rideaux of Port Hueneme was brushing up for a schedule of sociology, philosophy and television broadcasting.

“I plan on concentrating on my studies and doing well in school,” said the 19-year-old Ventura College transfer student, who has not yet decided what field to major in. “I’m exposing myself to different types of career ideas, but I’m interested in television,” she said.

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