Thursday, June 27, 2019
IDEA Scholar: Tania Vazquez
Tania Vazquez learned a lot at UC San Diego—about engineering, and about her approach to life. A first generation college student, Vazquez spent most weekends her freshman year driving back home to Riverside because she missed her family and didn’t feel at home on campus. At one point, she considered transferring to a school closer to home.
Encouragement from her fellow IDEA Scholars and program director Gennie Miranda to stick it out one more year helped her find her place, and learn the importance of channeling fear.
“I realized that a lot of other people had the same fear I had too,” Vazquez said. “I learned that you have to do things even if you don’t quite feel ready for it.”
She pushed herself to get involved with the Humanas Unidas group on campus, even serving as social chair.
“That was the whole point of pushing my boundaries, because I’m not a very social person, but I decided OK I’m going to go for the position that makes me the most uncomfortable.”
She ended up learning a lot and actually enjoying it. She got involved in outreach activities, and dove head first into classes and projects. By her second year, she felt more comfortable on campus, and was sticking around for more weekends.
She said the IDEA Scholars program helped her find her footing and community on campus.
“It helps you make friendships I think, which makes the process a lot easier. If it weren’t for the IDEA program I don’t know if I would have stayed.”
She encourages students who find themselves where she as just a few years ago to remember that they are qualified to be here and belong here.