Looking Back on Gateway: Ezequiel Calderon

Ezequiel Calderon, Jr.I made my first friends in the Gateway Scholars Program. That’s a big deal as a first-generation college student from Pasadena, TX that had nearly no connections at UT their first year. I was very fortunate to be involved with two new friends in a First-Year Interest Group, or FIG, and the Gateway Scholars Program. We found many similarities between us and studying for our classes was tremendously easier. Our friendship set up my beginning at this university so well, and I have Gateway to thank for making my transition to college so much better.

As I look back on my 4 years on the 40 Acres, I am astounded. I had never studied so much, I had never been so busy, and I had never met so many wonderful people. I loved the challenge and I became addicted to learning so much more. As an already ambitious college freshman, Gateway pushed us further and challenged us to take action. I got involved with various organizations such as Longhorn Singers, Target Your Future, and the GLBTQA Business Student Association, along with others. These experiences were the foundation I needed to truly excel in my leadership and give back to the campus community, which is what I ultimately wanted to do.

Now that I am closing up my career at UT, I consider what my most important lesson was. It’s really tough to say since I feel that I each day unveiled experiences that continue to build my character, but I have to say that the value in challenging the status quo has been very powerful. Question and consider the opposition. Be totally conscious about an effort or action you will take on. Understand information that you are receiving and be aware of how it will affect you. Take a new direction from the rest of the crowd if it is necessary. Do doubt the status quo in your career because it will take you father than you can imagine and push you past barriers and fears that you may have. Thanks to this lesson, I have been able to open my mind and reach heights I could have never imagined. There are successes sometimes that we don’t even realize are beneficial to us.

Thank you, Gateway Scholars, for shaping who I am today. Hook ‘em forever, Ezequiel.


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