“I wanted to go to the University of Florida and chose to complete my first two years at Santa Fe College (SF). This was the best decision for me. What I liked about SF was that the small class sizes allowed me to dive in deeper to subjects and make strong connections with other students and professors.
Classes are important and studies are important. But I think for me, being in a new country equally important was meeting the right people and getting involved at the college. Extracurriculars were important to develop leadership skills, communication skills. Obviously for me college was a place to learn, but really for me was the people that I met and what I got involved in that helped me later on.
The one thing that prepared me the most to go to UF was involvement in Model United Nations. At that time, this was probably one of the most uncomfortable things I had to do.
As an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) student, I was uncomfortable speaking in public and I had to learn how to give speeches in front of hundreds of people. I think that allowed me to be more comfortable with who I am and was key to my success at UF and as a FinTech Project Manager.
I think that’s what always been the root of success for me. Being uncomfortable, being thrown out there and in situations that were quite new to myself. Oftentimes, if you are uncomfortable, especially as it comes down to your career and academic setting, it means that you’re getting out of the things that are in your comfort center. I think that’s when growth happens.
I’d say to someone looking at places to go to college, SF provides a sense of community, for me that’s what did it. I keep talking about community because of the impact it left on me and the people that I met and the mentors that guided me along the way. Without Santa Fe College and the foundation, the people, and the involvement, I don’t think I would be able to get where I am right now.”
– Xavier Heredia
Read more stories from SF students who have made the leap to the University at Florida in our IfUFthenSF series.