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Eliazar Rodriguez

Phoenix, AZ – Eliazar Rodriguez started college wanting to be a math teacher but soon realized that the world of numbers was not for him, “Initially I wanted to be a math teacher which was completely out of left field, but I had something happen and I realized that I want to be helping people – and I see myself doing this and that’s why I pursued it.”

Eliazar is 22 and enrolled at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation pursuing his dream of becoming a registered nurse, “I want to be working in a hospital and I’m not really sure what specialty of nurse I want to be but for now I want to work in a hospital – preferably with kids.”

Eliazar says he has always struggled with sciences but becoming a nurse is worth the challenge, “The nursing program is difficult all around. It’s difficult to get in at ASU and it’s extremely competitive especially if you’re like me. I was not directly admitted into ASU, I had to transfer over from a community college, and it was extremely difficult to get in because there are limited spaces. It’s completely hard – it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s worth it.”

College students face all sorts of challenges such as leaving home and making their own way in college and the world. Eliazar says his biggest challenge has been internal, “I’m part of the LGBT community and I believe the biggest challenge I’ve had is accepting who I am, and being comfortable with myself and learning to love myself so that I can love others.

He explains that college has had a broad maturing effect, “I’ve matured completely. Not only am I an adult now but I’ve also blossomed socially – I’ve become more comfortable, I can speak in public and I have no problems addressing issues. I have just matured in a variety of ways and I believe that College Success Arizona has helped me with that as well.”

Eliazar was born in Indio, California and raised in the Phoenix area where he graduated from Carl Hayden Community High School. He went on to earn a scholarship from College Success Arizona which provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. The Phoenix-based educational nonprofit also provides students with specialized mentoring services through its “Success Advisers.”

Barbra Scrivner is Eliazar’s success adviser, “She’s been great. She’s more than just a mentor for my schooling – she’s also very interested in what I’m doing in my personal life. She’s made it easier for me to transition from college to university. She has been an immense help.”

He adds that the scholarship has helped to limit student debt, “It has helped me immensely throughout my whole college career. Now that I’m at a university versus community college, it’s a little bit different – I am in debt now but it has lowered the amount (of debt) I would have been in, which I am very grateful for.”

Eliazar says his parents have always encouraged and supported his college ambitions, “Ever since I was a child my parents have pushed me to push through with my education. They want me to have a better life than what they had. They have definitely helped me throughout my college career. They have helped me pay for books and they’re paying for my car now so that I can travel to school.”

Eliazar has some advice for middle and high school students considering college:

“Don’t take it lightly. Some students don’t really care for college even though they’re enrolled. Because they get help from programs like College Success Arizona they don’t feel like they’re paying out of pocket – they might not take it as seriously as they should. So my advice is to buckle up and take everything extremely seriously, take everything with grace and don’t take anything for granted and always study.”


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