Claudia Hernández leaves behind a legacy at The Prospector

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Photo courtesy of Claudia Hernández

Claudia Hernández has served The Prospector in various roles throughout her college journey.

Claudia Hernández, Photo Editor

I never thought I’d graduate from college during a pandemic but here I am.  

Both of my siblings graduated from UTEP a while ago and when I went to their ceremonies, I always told myself that would be me in a few years — standing there with my cap decorated and my parents struggling to find me because there would be so many other students graduating. I told my parents I would wear a very noticeable cap so they could easily find me. I wanted to have a huge party where all my loved ones could be there with me after accomplishing something I put so much time and effort in.

But things didn’t go as planned. This year definitely didn’t go as planned for anyone.  

I honestly don’t feel like I am graduating, but I am and I am very excited.  

Of course, I have days where I am terrified of what my future holds, but I’m mostly excited because I have many plans on my agenda. If I learned anything about this year, it’d be that I am now more prepared and capable than ever before to chase my dreams. Having passion reassures me that everything will somehow be okay. I spent my whole life wondering what my passion was, jealous of people who knew what they wanted to be since they were kids.  

Even when I began college, I never knew what I really liked. After I applied to The Prospector and eventually got in, I slowly began to realize what I wanted to be. At first, I was so intimidated and overwhelmed, and it took me a few semesters to realize I really liked where my career was taking me.  

If I could advise anyone who’s starting a new chapter in their life, not just college, I’d tell them to set their priorities straight and really pay attention to detail. A professor I admire a lot once told me that the difference between a mediocre and a good job is the attention to detail. I truly believe that is the key to standing out and growing as a person.  

I always said “yes” to every opportunity I encountered at UTEP which was overwhelming at times. I never saw any results until now. I guess all those efforts from years ago were seeds and my perseverance was the water. Now, I am finally blossoming.  

I want to thank everyone at The Prospector who helped and encouraged me, but especially who became my friends. Thank you, Michaela, for hiring me when I was 18 and didn’t really know anything about journalism. Thank you, Gaby, for teaching me about photography so patiently.

Thank you, Vero, for being the greatest boss and friend. Thank you, Tracy, Gigi, Brianna, Valeria, Vicky, Glenda, Anahy, Teddy and Paulina for making this job so much fun. I really enjoyed talking to you and learning from you. Thank you, Marisol and Landy for being one of my first best friends at UTEP.

Thank you professors Kate Gannon, and Dino Chiecchi for believing in me and granting me so many opportunities. Thank you, Humberto, for always being my plus two at every event I had to cover. And of course, thank you to my parents, Ana Larisa and Fabian, for making this possible and constantly listening to me talking about my dreams.   

I am so happy to have built these relationships. I want you all to know that you have a friend in me.  

As for now, I will celebrate at home with the hopes that I can celebrate with all of you when this is all over.  

Being a Miner was cool. Go UTEP and go Miners!

Claudia Hernández may be reached on Twitter @itsclaudiaher