SSS Participant Recollects His Journey and the Resources that Helped Him

CenterPoint Newsletter | January 2017 | by Irwin Munoz, Participant for SSS

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Every student has their own story on what it took to attend and complete their studies at a college or university. Being able to participate in the first senior panel by TRIO’s Student Support Services (SSS) program was an outstanding privilege, and what was even more exciting was being able to share and talk about my college experiences to students with backgrounds similar to my own.

Our university prides itself on being different, diverse, and daring from other colleges, and it’s true that UNLV focuses on serving its students so they can be as successful as possible. I come from a family of immigrants, grew up in a low-income household, and am a first-generation college student. I remember feeling anxious and nervous, while at the same time excited about the unknown possibilities. The moment that I stood up to share my experiences to the SSS freshmen participants, I saw myself in them. I saw determined students who understood the importance of being a first-generation college student and had the drive to be successful for themselves and their families.

When I was asked by the moderator “what does attending UNLV mean to you?” I responded by saying attending UNLV means being given the opportunity to grow my character, become educated about my career, and give back to others whom have helped me along the way. As students, we all aim to attain a degree and land the job or career opportunity that we worked so hard for. Life has its complications and is unpredictable, and sometimes the goals we have as students become difficult to achieve. Yet, UNLV offers various support services to help students overcome challenges that arise during their undergraduate career.

The Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach (The Center) provides a variety of services to assist students seek out connections and opportunities across campus, while also providing financial aid guidance and academic support.

Seeking all the resources possible to aid students during their undergraduate career can make a profound difference on their college experiences—I know this first-hand. Like many students at UNLV, I began college while working a full-time job and enrolled in 15 credits. Over time, I realized that if I wanted to reach my full potential as a student I would need to make more time to be involved in my academics and the campus community. I interviewed for and was offered the position of program assistant working with the TRIO Upward Bound program. In this position I was exposed to various educators who focused on supporting students with academic resources. I joined the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program and took the time to talk to my counselors and pursue scholarships. I worked diligently to increase my academic progress and applied for various scholarships with the guidance from the SSS academic counselors. This resulted in being the recipient of the Wells Fargo First-Generation Scholarship and Latin Chamber of Commerce Scholarship.

Being a part of UNLV has been more than I had ever imagined. The resources and academic support are all here on campus. Whenever I think of this university, I think of its commitment to support educational opportunities for first-generation/low-income students. I highly encourage any student here at UNLV to seek the resources that our university offers. You will be surprised by how much support there is out there.

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