Speaking with Students

This post was written by SVSLI intern Erica Demson.

Erick Zaldivar, an unde578201_10200185617457343_629949993_nrgraduate student majoring in Marketing at James Madison University, tells me his story about coming to America, finding self-motivation and following his love for music on a path to a successful career.

Our last post from Sandy, board member for SVSLI, speaks about how passion and motivation can help propel yourself into a career that you truly enjoy. Pursuing your interests and pushing yourself is essential to reach your goals. So, in the spirit of inspiration, I have to pass along a conversation that I had with a friend and fellow student, Erick.   Erick grew up in Rockingham County. His family moved from Mexico to the United States when he was only three…

Now, he is the first one from his family to pursue a college degree here in the States. He describes his parents as having street smarts. “Street smarts and ambition, that’s what you learn”. So when I ask him what motivated him to go to college, he said, “ To give back to my family. To work hard and give back to the people who have helped me.”

I tell Erick about the scholars and how they are beginning to chase their own goals, the first of which being a college degree. “That’s good. That’s great.” He says, “I would like to talk to them. I would like to tell them that there are plenty of opportunities to get ahead.”

He tells me that his family always offered their support, but his own motivation and drive propelled him to where he is now. “Everyone gets their motivation from different places.” Some people need the extra guidance and encouragement a mentor can offer. “If you can’t find a mentor at home, I’m sure there are plenty of teachers who would be happy to help.”

But nothing replaces a person’s internal drive. As Erick tells it, his motivation to give back to his family allows him to channel his hobby for music into a job, and towards a possible career. He explains how his family’s love for music and it has always been a part of his life. “I think it might be genetic!” DJing started out as a hobby, as an outlet for self-expression. Then slowly people starting asking Erick to DJ for house parties locally at JMU. Pretty soon he was asked to DJ at weddings and other events. “It kinda just took off. How passionate I was and how people felt the energy when I played was what got people talking about it.” Erick is now a campus representative for an online music website and works with club Glow in Washington D.C. “Don’t settle, you aren’t going to be happy in life if you are doing something that you don’t love.” Erick took his hobby and made it into a career he intends to pursue after he graduates with a degree in Marketing.

Erick advises any high school student to do all they can to get a college degree. “If your parents did all they could to get you here, you have to do all you can to get that opportunity…I lived in a shack when I was three, there were some bad times, but it motivated me to get where I am now.” He pulls up his shirtsleeve to reveal an intricately scripted ink quote. It reads, “Remember where you came from, where you are, and where you want to be.” “That’s my motto, my motivation” he says.536554_4766834409668_145166017_n

I hope that Erick can serve as an inspiration not only to the scholars, but also to anyone who hears his story. Personally, as a soon to be graduate, hearing other peoples stories help me in my venture to find my own career path. Hearing about other people’s journeys and their aim to achieve makes my own goals seem feasible. So, I encourage everyone to listen to whoever has a story to share because you never know where your next source of inspiration and motivation will come from!

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