Playing to Your Strengths
Geovanny Rivera is from El Salvador and arrived in the U.S. at age 14. He attended Manhattan Int’l HS where he struggled in English and soared in Math. He’s currently entering his senior year at City Tech where he is a studying Graphic Design. He is a member of City Tech’s Art & Design Club and often mentors and helps other students with their design projects. “…as a designer I can see things that other people can’t see…if I don’t know something, and find it interesting, I will make sure to learn it as fast as possible.”
My name is Geovanny, and I’m a student at the New York City College of Technology. During high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in when I reached college, and I know many other students were in the same position. I loved to draw and began using Adobe Photoshop for fun. My friends would ask me what I wanted to do after I finished high school, and I would always them that I didn’t know.
When I thought about my career, the first thing that came to mind was that I didn’t want to pursue something that where much written or spoken English was required. Because I was born in another country, my English wasn’t perfect. I was so shy that I didn’t speak often, because I feared that people would laugh at me. My teachers always said that the only way to stop being shy is by talking to people, but for me, to take that first step was what scared me the most.
Later on, when it came time to begin looking at colleges, I went to talk to my adviser to see if she could give me some suggestions. She asked me what I wanted to study in college, and I told her I didn’t know. She then asked me to tell her what I enjoyed doing. I told her that I like to draw and use Adobe PhotoShop, and appreciate it when I receive compliments on my work from peers. My adviser explained that I could go to college for graphic design, illustration, or architecture. I felt that Graphic Design was the best match for me. I remember one of my teachers telling me that when I decide on a career, to try doing something I love, so as to avoid being bored or frustrated. He said that sometimes people will go for a position in which they will earn a lot of money, but in the end makes them miserable. I was so grateful for the advice I received from my adviser and teacher.
A few days before I got into college, I was very worried that I didn’t have what it takes to succeed. I had many questions and concerns: What if I fail? What if the Classes are too expensive and I am not able to pay for them? When I arrived at college, I was pleasantly surprised and felt that the classes were flexible: I didn’t have to go to college every day as I was going to high school. However, some students think that their professors will continually remind them of their homework, but this is not the case. A professor will just hand out the homework and students must note the deadline. If you don’t, you receive a zero.
Over time, I learned that it’s better to be on top of things, to do things ahead of time. Otherwise the final product will not be as satisfactory. One thing that is very important for us, as college students, is to make connections with other students. After you finish college, you never know when you might need them or whether they might need you as well. The more connections you make, the better off you will be when it comes to finding jobs. You never know if there is someone out there who could benefit from your talents. I wish someone would have told me when I first started college to join different activities on campus, or clubs that are related to the career I wanted to pursue. I also wish someone would have told me about different scholarships that were available. It may be too late for me to receive a scholarship, but it’s not too late for current college freshman. Scholarships are great opportunities to pick up more classes and finish college faster.