Mack alumn Donald Layne: what I learned in high school; what I wish I had

"Wish I'd read more books in high school"

by Angelique Villasana

His blue and yellow knitted hat may say UCLA (prank gift from a friend), but Donald Layne’s  a happy freshman at Long Beach State University, where he hopes to major in social work.

“I wish I’d read more books at Mack,” he says, reflecting about his high school days.  He also wishes he’d spent more time studying for the ACTs, had taken the SATs, had written more papers and learned to type better.

What he learned at Mack that was most helpful: researching and writing a senior project; learning Power Point so well that he teaches it to his friends for free and to others for a small fee.

“College is a lot harder than high school,” says Layne, 19, who has a 3.2 GPA and takes advantage of tutoring programs, studies with friends and participates in BLC program that helps with every class.

The reason he chose social work as a major was to help the West Oakland community and other struggling communities. Once he was accepted at Long Beach State, he says he was self motivated and also ready to start his new life in college.

“It’s different, even better to be away from home,” he says. The “better” things are beaches, museums, Rosco’s Chicken and Waffles, warm weather, “people who aren’t negative” and diversity. His new friends include Latinos, African-Americans, Pacific-Islanders and Asians.

The scariest moment was….paying his own bills. Layne has $3,000 in loans and quickly learned to budget.

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