Vincent Garcia (2012)

Last month, 20 Scholars attended Texas Leader Weekend (TLW) in Dallas, engaging in professional development workshops, networking opportunities, and workplace site visits. Vincent Garcia (2012), reflects upon his TLW experience.

"Prior to attending TLW 2017, I was uncertain how I could pursue a career in software as a self-taught programmer with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. The company visit to Bank of America’s IT department, arranged by AHS, addressed my uncertainty by providing me exceptional advice through mock interviews. I personally do not like interviews given my history of social anxiety, however, the professionals from the IT department understood my needs while providing me with honest feedback. The key advice I took away from the company visit was that my resume is simply a ticket to an interview; beyond that point, I have to be comfortable sharing a story that illuminates who I am.

In addition to the career advice I gained from TLW, I realized my goals will change over time. During the first year of the program, AHS encourages Scholars to develop a personal development plan (PDP). The purpose of the PDP is to help us establish our values in leadership and attainable long-term goals throughout our undergraduate career and entrance in the workforce. The PDP is then revised prior to attending TLW so Scholars can reflect on their growth from their undergraduate experiences. I found that while my values have not changed, my goals have. TLW reassured me that I don’t have to feel anxious about my future and shifting goals because “the future is unpredictable, the past already happened, so now it is best to make the most of the present. Everyone is on a different timeline, you are not behind nor ahead, you are where you need to be.”

While I am open to the idea that my goals are subject to change, my current goal is to obtain a career in software development. AHS has provided me the confidence that I can achieve a fulfilling career in technology. Being reminded that I am cared for and that I have AHS’ social and professional support network at my disposal gives me the courage I need to pursue a career outside of my major.

AHS ensures that Scholars like me do not endure their undergraduate experience alone. Its continuously expanding national network allows Scholars to gain professional connections that are difficult to acquire in the post-college phase. By giving to AHS, supporters are strengthening a network that helps young leaders leave their legacies through civic engagement. Together, AHS and supporters provide hope despite the uncertainty of our future."

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