You can change someone’s life if you believe in them just enough. That has happened to me countless times.
I remember every single one of the people who helped me become the person I am today. Every. Single. One.
My family, of course, will always be first. They have always supported my journey, even when there wasn’t a journey quite yet.
During my freshman year, Rebecca Hernández convinced professor María de los Angeles Flores, Ph.D., that I was a good fit to participate in a research project. One summer later, I was presenting in national research conferences.
Areli Chacón Silva, Ph.D., saw my work at one of those conferences and hired me as a research assistant for the Leadership and Community Engagement Program. There, I met Omar Gandara, Ryan Metz, Zalma Hernández, Matthew Leal and Steve Telless. All of them became my second family, support system, and the best cheerleaders one could wish for.
That job also gave me my best friend, Nayla Bejarano. Since I met her, I have learned to live better. She taught me the importance of taking care of my mind and body, and that of those around me. With her light and passion, she inspires me to be the best version of myself, or at least try.
A few semesters later, I met Valeria Olivares, a great friend and incredible leader. Together, we wrote my first published story for Borderzine.com. She was patient and sympathetic, and even drove me home that night after working together at the library.
Valeria pushed me professionally because she believed in my potential as a journalist, even more than I believed in it myself. Thanks to her, I decided to knock the door of The Prospector and apply for an internship. Two months later, we were working together leading the newsroom.
My first week as web editor at The Prospector taught me much more than any journalism class I had ever attended. Thanks to Tracy Roy, who to this day keeps answering every question I have, I was able to figure out my job and learn CMS, SEO, and many other acronyms that same week. I am eternally grateful with Tracy and Verónica González, who somehow thought it was great idea to hire a novice as web editor, six weeks after she arrived at the newsroom.
I’ve learned so much since then, personally and professionally, from the people that surround me: Michael, Anahy, Paulina, Heriberto, Victoria, Teddy, and Exodis, you’ve made me a better writer and a better person. Working with you and reading your work inspired me every week for four semesters, and I look forward to your incredible futures.
I thank The Prospector for helping me gain the skills necessary to open the doors of my future.
To my favorite journalism professor, Kate Gannon, thank you for believing in my aspirations and introducing me to my now great friends and mentors, Alfredo Corchado and Alfredo Carbajal.
Luis, I love you. You make me a better person every day.
After an internship with Al Día Dallas this summer, I will be starting a new chapter as a law student at William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. I am sure law school will be challenging, but Brent McCune, Lisa Soto and Bill Weaver, Ph.D., have given me the necessary tools to succeed and a solid foundation to build upon.
After I walk the stage, this May, and move to Las Vegas, Nevada, to start my new life, I know I will always find a home in El Paso, UTEP, and The Prospector.
I am grateful for the memories and hopeful for the future. Thank you, UTEP.
Marisol Chávez may be reached at [email protected]@marisolchs on Twitter.