What's your background?
I am a first-gen college student, born and raised in Hialeah, Florida. I attended American Senior High School (class of 2015) and went on to Miami Dade College to study Mechanical Engineering. After a couple years, I transferred to Valencia College in Orlando, FL to study Marketing.
Can you describe the highs and lows of your college experience?
My lowest point as a college student was not knowing whether to spend my savings on paying bills for our home or my tuition. This is a very real struggle which thousands upon thousands of students face each and every day. My highest point would be when I learned through my time as a money mentor at NextGenVest how to save money and make better, educated financial decisions throughout my college life.
What was most stressful to you about paying for college if you could pick out one thing? Why?
My biggest problem was not having planned ahead. My parents had no money to pay for my schooling after pouring all of their funds to my older-brother's education, so I really should have started looking for a job when I was still in high school to help myself in the future by setting aside money for my tuition. This was especially stressful because I already had a lot to deal with and having to add a full-time job wasn't going to be all fun and games.
Who helped you navigate paying for college?
Unfortunately, I didn't even know the FAFSA existed while I was a senior. I had the luck of meeting a great friend of mine, Erica (who is also a money mentor). She put me on the right track and taught me the basics of the FAFSA and walked me through the process step-by-step.
What are you majoring in and why? What has been your favorite class?
I began my college career as a mechanical engineering major and only recently switched over to Marketing. The reason being that many people find it difficult to find jobs during college as an engineer without a degree than someone who is in a field like Marketing.
What do you hope to do with your career? What city or profession do you envision yourself in?
I see myself sticking to NextGenVest. We are a growing company, currently servicing about 40,000 students nation-wide. I started off as a Money Mentor, decided to bring NextGenVest to every high school in Miami and then asked NextGenVest's CEO if I could work for the company full time and take on more responsibility. Now I'm the National Director of School Partnerships and have received professional sales training that NextGenVest paid for to get me ready for the responsibility.
I reduced my course work to one class a semester so I could still graduate and started full time. I've now been to 6 cities all across the country. Before NextGenVest, I had never been out of Miami. There is a ton of opportunity to learn more skills and help more students here.
Why do you like about being a NextGenVest Money Mentor?
I love working for NextGenVest because I believe in our mission. National student debt is an issue with students owing on average $37,000 in loans after only four years of college - this is just the average. There are student who graduate with $60,000+ in student loans making higher education such a great financial burden to those who seek it. As Money Mentors, we do try our best to consistently deliver a trustworthy experience and break that financial barrier of attending post-secondary education.
What's one thing that you learned while being a Money Mentor?
At NextGenVest I learned the importance of having a plan A, B, and C when it comes to anything. Preventing an issue (especially a financial one) is must easier than fixing it later. One such example would be paying for school. My plan A was to apply for as many grants and scholarships to pay off my tuition. Plan B was to work a full-time job and save up until I have enough for a few years of college. Plan C is my last resort- taking out a student loan. I knew plan C wasn't going to happen under any circumstance and Plan A didn't work so well, so I ended up taking on a couple jobs during college as a busboy at a restaurant and math tutor.