As young children, we are taught many things, we learn, and what to look out for. And while in school growing up, we also learn the value of homework and responsibility. However, at such a young age, college isn’t something we worry about. It isn’t until we come close to the end of our years of High School that we begin to decide what we need to do for college and what shoes to buy. Okay, so maybe not the shoe part, but what about college? After all, it’s what we really prepare for, to pursue our goals and dreams of becoming something great. To make a difference in this world because maybe we experienced something growing up, or maybe an idea that we want to be something great or do something interesting.
In becoming productive members of society, we develop skills through life experiences, no matter what it is, and learn what we need to make changes and gain that knowledge to better a situation for ourselves, others, our world, and what’s in it. There are many people out in this world making those changes for the better and some, are right in our own backyard. Take for example 3 people I recently interviewed, all of whom had very unique stories to tell. Each of their goals played into each other without their knowledge, as if fate stepped in to guide them.
Domingo, a young man in his late twenties, received a Master’s degree in education from UTSA. He was raised by a single mom for a short while and by his grandparents, who later in life stood by his side every step of the way including transportation to and from school. His mother was a go-getter type, and a strong woman, but when Domingo was 8 years of age, his mother began her battle with cancer. Despite her struggles, she pushed through to be there for her son every which way she could. Domingo’s grandparents came from poverty and struggled in life, but overcame obstacles, were very selfless, and humble people. While in school, Domingo developed a program aimed at focusing on grandparents who raise their grandchildren and how he could help them obtain the resources needed for school or whatever they may need for success. Domingo says his family was more excited than he was when he finished school and that, “it hasn’t quite kicked in yet.” But he is the first to graduate from college and much of his success with school and who he is can be attributed to the support from his family and his journey with UTSA.
But our story doesn’t end here, our next highlight is Guadalupe, a woman who graduated from Dartmouth, which is an Ivy League School, and then on to UTSA’s doctorate program. She was the daughter of immigrants but took every opportunity for her education as much as possible and her drive for success, like Domingo, can be attributed to her family. While going through life, she gained experience and learned a great deal in public relations working investments and translations with Citibank. In January 2023, she plans on beginning a new chapter in her profession utilizing what she has learned in her academics as Principal for Clear Spring Northeast ISD San Antonio, Texas. She states that some of the biggest problems right now is the lack of effective communication. “Sometimes an email doesn’t go through, or a follow-up with parents isn’t done or is missed resulting in more issues not being resolved in a timely fashion. There are resources available for anyone looking to succeed in school, you just have to ask and don’t be afraid, otherwise, you might miss out. And remember, if you’re not sure, again, just ask, I remember a time when I didn’t even know what a bagel was in school and I didn’t know what people were talking about, so I had to ask what a bagel was.” She has this expression that caught my attention and it was “let kids be kids and adults be adults.” Guadalupe states that we need to be more proactive in providing resources for the families, and for the parents, so the children have what they need to live to their full potential and have a chance at success.
What we do in life makes a big difference to others, including our children. And having the right guidance, structure, and support system is crucial for the future of our children. Without it, they’ll face hardships, become problems in society, and struggle in their own relationships. An issue, a woman named Felicia has recognized from the past with some of her closest family members who soon became too distant. Felicia is also a recent graduate of UTSA and has major concerns for the homeless population. She believes that involvement begins at the early stages of a child’s life and that intervention through the use of extracurricular activities can play a major role in helping to build character and help kids stay out of trouble. Not having parental involvement can be a cause of some of these issues, she says, having witnessed her own twin cousins go through life with such hardships and getting involved in gangs and on the streets. Felicia describes how there seem to be more police officers now in schools than counselors, and a lack of mentors to help guide students, or someone students can talk to. The same thing can be said of the prison system, she says that it was originally meant as a place to rehabilitate people back into society, to help teach people what they might be missing, but instead, it’s the complete opposite. People are overworked, educators are overworked and the kids and families are paying for it. Felicia says that “if you can help one person, then that’s all it takes.” Felicia hopes to work with children who are struggling and facing hardships and plans on one day changing those outlooks, to help stop that recurring cycle.
From what I have learned from UTSA’s students, their approach to academics seems to go deep, and many students seem to utilize that critical thinking and S.M.A.R.T method to gain a better grasp of what they want to accomplish, and not for themselves either, but for the betterment of one person to another. I wish to thank UTSA and the people involved for their help in every facet, from the students I interviewed to Michelle, Christy, Brooke, and the rest of the media and public affairs team at UTSA. Thank you, Adeymius.