Glendale, AZ – Cristian Loera is hoping that a college education focused on psychology and business will equip him to be successful in a marketing career.
Cristian explains, “Originally, I wanted to do something very artsy and I’ve always enjoyed doing graphic design, but I was never a big fan of it as a job. And, as I went through the community college courses I was taking, I was able to fall in love with psychology. So, I thought if I can use my graphic design abilities to do things I really like, as well as making a lot of money and doing things that I was good at with psychology and apply it to a place I think would be most effective, in business. So, it’s a combination of things I’ve always wanted to do and things I’ve learned to do, so that I can have the best of everything I want to do.”
Cristian adds that he’s excited about marketing, “What I want to do is get statistics on the kind of people that we’re going to be trying to market our products towards. I want to go out there and find out what works, and what doesn’t work. And, I want to go back and use my experience in graphic design to build up a little presentation, a plan and a program, and some extra things to present it with the statistics I learned from psychology and apply it in a business setting.”
Cristian, age 21, was born and raised in Phoenix and graduated from Sierra Linda High School and is close to graduating with his associate degree from Glendale Community College, and then it’s onto Arizona State University to earn his bachelor’s degree:
“I am extremely excited for it! I’ve always really enjoyed the community college level and how personal everything is, and how personal I get with other people on campus. But, I know that ASU has a lot more opportunities and a lot more communities for me. So, all of these amazing experiences I’ve had at Glendale Community College is just a stepping stone to all of the amazing experiences I will have at ASU.”
Meanwhile, Cristian is among the students who receive specialized mentoring services through College Success Arizona’s team of highly skilled “Success Advisers,” and its partnership with the EXCEL Program, which serves students at Glendale Community College and other community colleges. Cristian’s Success Adviser is Matt Sotelo, “I’ve known Matt since I first joined the Excel program in 2015. And, from the beginning he’s been an extremely friendly face, whenever I need to talk to him or when I need to talk about something that I was little uneasy about. Matt has also been very helpful in making sure that I’m graduating on time and finding scholarships and having workshops to go to. So, Matt’s just always been there on the forefront as a resource I can use to make sure that I’m succeeding.”
Cristian also works as a peer mentor with the Excel Program, which he says has been a great experience and also helped with networking, “I’m able to not only help students on a personal level, but I get to know them, and I get to know people from other clubs and programs that I’m involved with. I get to know everybody across the campus – so, wherever I go, whatever building I enter, or wherever I’m walking to, I always see two or three friendly faces per hour. And, that’s by the far the best part of college, building a community and knowing everybody, knowing who to talk to, to get things done, and who I want to talk to if I need any help, or advice.”
For Cristian, as is the case for most first-generation students, having a college mentor is critical for success, “At first when I went to community college, I thought that I knew everything that I needed to know. I went in and did my classes and I knew where to get food, and I knew where the library was, and I thought that was all I needed, because I never knew otherwise. But, after getting involved with Excel and other programs, and having to help my own students, I’ve realized how little I actually knew about college at the beginning of my time here. Having a mentor has been extremely helpful in learning about all of the resources available at college.”
Cristian says his mother was also a source of encouragement, “Before I started at GCC, my mother would drive an hour out of her way every day to drop me off at Estrella Mountain Community College where I would do my courses. Through her love and her support, I was able to get through all of those courses and jump into GCC later. So, my mom was there every day to push me and make sure that I was waking up and going to those college courses, even though just a week earlier I had graduated from high school.”
For middle and high school students considering their own college options, Cristian offers the following advice, “I would say don’t be afraid of what college has to offer. I know that a lot of teachers can build college up as being a lot harder than high school classes, and that the work is going to be a lot heavier and that the teachers are going to be stricter. And, sometimes that is the case but more often than not I’ve found that the work isn’t too challenging, if you’re making sure that you’re doing it to the best of your ability. And, as long as you put forward your best effort, and try your hardest, you’ll be able to get through it relatively fine. Also, if you maintain a good relationship with your professors, they’ll be there to help you too.
Beyond the books, Cristian enjoys graphic design projects and acting in various productions and writing screenplays.
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income circumstances, your tax-deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on top of this page.