Keeping His Eyes on the Prize

Alan Briones

Being a graduating high school senior with multiple acceptance letters from different universities doesn’t always hit you like it may hit other students. Alan Briones graduated high school with a different mindset than he has today. Socializing, sports, and not wanting to grow up was the type of space his mind was in.

Briones started out like any other freshman living in the dorm, hanging out with his buddies, not really having a job, staying up late, and playing video games, which eventually led to a pattern of skipping class. Little did he know, his life was soon going to change forever.

Entering his eighth semester in college, Briones sat down with his advisor to set up his schedule for the upcoming fall. His advisor told him he was going to have to grind if he wanted to graduate with his class. Knowing that was nearly impossible, those words really stuck with him. He realized it was because of his own actions, not pushing himself and not being motivated, that he was where he was that day. A few semesters later, he saw his classmates and close friends graduate and begin their careers, start families, and living a life that he wanted.

From then on out, he decided he was going to change his mentality, get a job, and focus on his books. Over the course of the past 2 ½ years, Briones’ world has spun. His family, friends and professors have noticed an inspiring change in him. Today Briones is a full-time senior, studying to graduate with a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing, while also working three part-time jobs.

“Realizing who I am and painting a picture of who I want to be keeps me going,” he says. “Wanting to be a better man, wanting to be able to take that next step in my life, and wanting to give back to my parents, everything keeps my eye on the prize.”

Working three jobs while being a full-time student can be tough. Through the past few years as he has grown and formed a hard-working mindset, he has never skipped a beat. Today he is a dedicated, efficient worker, and loves to work hard for what he wants. After Briones graduates, he plans to get a steady job working with a company he loves, start paying back his student loans, and taking the next step in his life.

Some advice Briones has for a student experiencing something similar to what he did is, “Create habits now. Work for yourself. Work on yourself. Constantly check Canvas.”

Briones says he used to think short term. “What is due tomorrow? What am I doing this weekend? I need to work so I can spend my whole check on this one thing.” Today, he recommends looking into the future, such as studying for those two hours instead of playing video games, planning ahead, saving for things that matter.

 “When you are bored, checking Canvas, working hard, and planning for the future becomes enjoyable and more of a healthy habit when you can see that light at the end of the tunnel,” he says.

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