College Possible Washington student Gustavo shares his thoughts and experience about graduating high school and entering college during a global pandemic.
What does going to college and earning your degree mean to you?
Going to college and earning my degree means such an array of different things. It means making my parents proud and achieving what they have worked so hard to provide me: the opportunity of acquiring an education.
It means making myself proud and achieving a dream and goal of mine. Getting that degree means effort, grit and determination to me.
How does having a college degree impact your future goals?
A college degree allows me to have the credentials and qualifications necessary to continue pursuing whatever career or careers I decide to embark on. It is something that cannot be taken away from me and something that cannot be denied its existence.
Symbolically, the degree would serve as a reminder of my capabilities.
Most importantly, I hope that my degree serves as a passport to find different ways of using whatever skills and education I receive. To lead a life of helping others and understand the grey nature within us all. Just like we all have darkness in us, we all too have light. I hope to follow a career where helping find someone’s goodness – someone’s light – is at the forefront.
How has the pandemic and all the events of the last ~15 months impacted your path to a college degree?
I’d be lying if I said that the pandemic has not affected my college experience and degree, but with time I hope that things return to some semblance of normality. Looking at my journey now, I believe that the fallbacks I encountered my freshman year cannot be the only things that I focus on. Instead, I can look at the past year more objectively and realize that those challenges also taught me to be a little easier on myself, to feel a little more open to asking for help, and to learn how to better rely on others.
What kinds of support have you found valuable now that you’re in college?
The main organization that I have continued communication with regarding academics is College Possible. My College Possible coach has supported me through valuable check-ins that allowed me space to just talk and breathe and release. Additionally, they were on top of deadlines like class registration and finals. During a time when I was missing the incredibly important support of an adult mentor, College Possible provided that for me and I am so thankful and appreciative of that.