MENTORING: FSbD Successful Mentoring Projects

How I Felt As A Latino Graduate: Why College And Animo Made A Difference

Martin Anthony Garcia II

On graduation day I felt loved, blessed, and happy with a bitter-sweet taste at the fact that the four years are up. I graduated and won’t be back at Villanova in the fall. I loved college, the people, and my life at Villanova. I understand now why they say college is the best years of your life. As I look back at the past and forward into the future, I know that Animo and College will have made all the difference within me to succeed.

Loved
I know I am loved because at graduation my family and friends screamed their heads off when I walked across that stage. Out of all of my peers I received the loudest cheer from the crowd. The building had exploded with shouts of praise. It really was an out of body experience and I am still feeling the Love poor in from my family and friends who weren’t in attendance, but had always and will always be rooting for me. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling to know so many people were cheering me on to graduate college. Wanting the best for others is Love. I was afraid at first, going across the country and not knowing anyone. But when you look for the best in others and want the best for them, it’s easy to make friends. Show love to others and you will receive it back tenfold, trust me.

Blessed
Anyone who knows me knows how lucky I am. My brother told me lucky is just where opportunity meets preparedness. Don’t tell him I said this but I think he’s right. The fraternity I am a part of, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc., has a motto and it goes “semper parati, semper juncti.” Translated it means “always prepared, always together.” Opportunities are rare and special, if you aren’t prepared for them than its going to go to someone else who is. This is why it is important to work hard and start early. Do not be afraid to ask for help. A pencil is easy to snap by itself, but bounded together by a rubber band, a handful of pencils are hard to snap. So ask for help and share your dreams and aspirations with as many people as you can because you never know who might bound themselves with you and vice versa. I was lucky that Animo come to my high school and even luckier that Terry took me under her wing and involved me with every Latino Young Men’s Conference since 2006. I was lucky and blessed to receive a full ride to Villanova, but I was prepared for it with good grades that I earned from hard work. I try and make my own luck and I encourage you to make your own. Seek out opportunities wherever they may be and create your own luck!

Happy
I felt happy because four hard years had finally paid off. I’m officially a college graduate! But I couldn’t have done it without people pushing me to do my best and work my hardest. At times I slacked I was always reminded of why I was in college in the first place, it has a lot to do with me being happy in my future. The Latino Young Men’s Conference was the biggest reminder each year. Seeing the kids at the conference reminded me of when I was that age and I too was soaking in all that the day had to offer, especially the message that I could and would succeed. The successful Latinos in the room were all the evidence I needed. Each male role model there had a story, most had backgrounds tougher than mine and their example offered hope and encouragement to me. I asked myself, if these men could do it why not me. I wasn’t going to wait; if I wanted to be successful I would have to start NOW! There is no time like today to start down the path of success. For me, I knew that path was one that led me to the top of the stage where I was handed my college diploma. I had been told at Animo many years ago that if you work really hard toward your goal, train and practice, study and learn, you will succeed and be happy. The Latino Mentors were right, I am happy.

Martin Garcia: Understanding the Importance of Education

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