Episode 2: Be Brave

Featured Guest

Rep.  Joaquin Castro

College Advising Corps Board of Directors Member


Jobrina Perez

Former CAC adviser at Texas A&M University



Nicole Hurd: [00:00:00] hi, everybody. We’re back with another podcast. And I am so excited today because today we are being brave and we are being brave with two of my favorite people. One of them is representative walking Castro from San Antonio, Texas.

And the other is Joe Breena Perez, who is an advisor with our Texas a and M chapters. So at representative Castro who I will call Joaquin right now, cause he’s family. So I don’t, I’m going to drop the formalities and Joe Brina, welcome to our podcast.

Joaquin Castro: [00:00:26] Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Nicole Hurd: [00:00:28] So, uh, so Joaquin, I’m gonna start with you because I’m going to embarrass you a little bit, but that’s part of being brave.

Uh, I I’ve been saying this podcast is supposed to be making me comfortable being uncomfortable. Uh, but we’ve got three goals with this podcast. One is. To radiate light and love and hope in a time where it feels like that’s not happening. We’re in the middle of the pandemic. And people are going back to school who are watching this, or getting ready to advise they’re watching this.

And we want them to feel that that love and light the seconds to amplify voices and so excited to amplify your intro Breanna’s voices today. Um, and the third is to give a little bit of practical advice, um, but. With the theme being, being brave. And I don’t mean to embarrass you, but I think some of us look at you and say, Oh my goodness, representative Castro, you know, he’s been so successful.

Uh, you know, they saw you on that, on the national stage. Uh, but I remember 10 years ago when I met you, you were a state representative. Uh, your brother was mayor San Antonio. Uh, we met in city hall, actually little watch this, the tech, the Texas work that Joe Perino’s part of on the steps of city hall while you were a state legislature, um, So, can you talk a little bit about, because you weren’t kind of born as representative walking Castro, human actually had a journey for all of our students out there and advisors who are thinking about.

Oh, my goodness. I need to be brave. I’m going to apply to college. Oh my goodness. I’m going to be brave. I need to go, go to college. My daughter just personally is supposed to go to college in two weeks. I had to stick a swab in her nose so that she could be Cobin negative before she started school. So we’re being brave and another way in my household, but right now, but what can you talk a little bit about your you’re applying to college and you’re leaving for college and how you, how you were brave at that time.

Joaquin Castro: [00:02:09] Well, first of all, it was great to be with you and congratulations on the launch of the pilot cast. Um, you know, it’s okay. It’s a tough time. I think that transition from going to high school to going on to college. Yeah. Even the beginning of it, which is deciding, deciding to go then deciding where you want to go and where you’re going to go.

Uh, I have a twin brother Julian, and, you know, we had both supply to a lot of the same colleges and we ended up getting into some of the same ones and we ended up going to Stanford together. But before we decided to go there, we had never seen the place, you know, uh, they had a pre freshmen weekend, but my parents couldn’t afford to send us.

Uh, so we just made a decision that we were going to, we were going to go, uh, we were going to show up, uh, and, but there was like a lot of fear and trepidation around just going to a place that you never been before with people that you don’t know. And it’s such a personal thing. I was thinking about it the other day, you know, they’re very.

Times in your life where you literally go from your hometown and your, you know, the place it’s true. You’ve lived a long time, one time at your home with your family, pretty close to a bunch of people that you’ve never met before. Uh, and so I remember on the way up. We got on the flight. And I think I cried half the way there.

I mean, really, because I was leaving home and had not been away from my, you know, my parents before my family before now, I was lucky because I had my brother there with me. Yeah. So that I think helped a good bit. Um, but there are a lot of people who are going through that experience for the first time, really on their own.

And I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself. And believe that whatever it is that you’re setting out to do in college to pursue your dreams, that you can achieve those dreams. And I think a big part of the way that you do that is by surrounding yourself with people that believe in you.

As much as you can. Uh, people that believe that when you say you want to be a doctor or a teacher or a lawyer, whatever it is you want to do, they stand by you, they lift you up and they help you get there.

Nicole Hurd: [00:04:12] Well, why can’t we say all the time? I think the forum posts most important words that any of us say to each other is.

I believe you are, I believe in you, right? That those words are just so important to be able to say, I believe in you. Um, and to be brave and, you know, I’m, I knew that story. Cause you had mentioned that there were a few ugly tears on those to get you from San Antonio to the Bay area. Um, Joe, Brianna, can you talk a little bit about, you did this scary thing too called going to college?

What, what was your, what was your transition to college like and what can you say to a student right now who needs to be brave?

Jobrina Perez: [00:04:45] Yes. Yeah. Uh

Nicole Hurd: [00:04:47] it’s at first. So thank you, Nicole. First of all, for just dr. Her and

Jobrina Perez: [00:04:51] Nicole for having us, um, what an honor to be a part of this podcast? Um, yes, uh, as a first generation college student going to a and M, um, was really scary.

And I, there was a lot of guilt that was, I think, can be present in first generation college students. For leaving the household to go and further their education. Because a part of me felt like I should be at back at home, helping my family, support them financially and put food on the table and just be either, am I seeing other right.


number. Mr. Kasha was saying, having conversations with threatened and being with them, help you guys. The opportunity that I had to attend Texas A&M and not guilt.

Okay. Um, I think.

It’s not frustrating for students would be to dive all in and I gave a hundred day one. Um, I think it’s really easy to, uh, just soak into the fear of what is, am I going to be successful or what are people going to think about me or what all of the, what ifs about college? Um, but I think not holding back academically and not holding back by finding the people that you get along with the most, um, finding your place on campus is just so important your freshman year.

And to just constantly remind myself to remind yourself that the opportunity that you have to be on, whatever college campus you are on is something that you earned. You worked for you, you deserve to be there. So don’t ever feel guilty that you. Are taking that opportunity, um, to your advantage. So,

Nicole Hurd: [00:06:55] so, you know, I think part of what we’re trying to do is, uh, give some practical advice and I think about.

All those students right now who are watching or who are listening to this really starting to think about like, it’s now my senior year of high school. This isn’t what I expected my senior high school to look like. Um, should I still go? Right. I think there’s actually a value proposition problem out there right now.

So if we’ve got students listening right now, um, Joaquin, what would you say to a student right now? Who’s going to be in this class of 2021. Um, and they’re going to have to be brave, right? This is, this isn’t even a choice. So what would you say to a student right now? Yeah. I mean,

Joaquin Castro: [00:07:30] this is really unprecedented, you know, the country and the world, haven’t dealt with a pandemic like this in a hundred years, right.

Since the so-called Spanish flu. And so, yeah, going from high school to college, it’s tough enough for everybody. But when you layer this huge thing on top of it, it really, really is a, uh, even tougher situation for everyone. Folks will make the decision to continue. Uh, you know, if this is going to be their freshman year, especially that they’ll continue and start.

Uh, and I say that because sometimes when you put things off, light has a way of taking you away from the path that you were intending to go upon. And I wouldn’t want to see that for folks. Um, you know, but I know that there’s a lot of concerns. Some colleges are still doing are going to do virtual learning for a bit.

And you know, when people are wondering, well, why am I going to spend a lot of money? You know, when I can’t even go to campus for a while or do this, that, uh, but I think in the end, I hope for folks, especially the students who come from the community, the kind of community that I came from, kind of folks that are served by the college advising Corps.

I hope that they’ll continue on because you want to make sure that you get down that road of getting your higher education degree, um, so that you can get closer to your dreams, whatever it is that you want to do.

Nicole Hurd: [00:08:57] Thank you for that walking show Brina. What would you say? I mean, you spent two years in a high school being a college advisor.

What would you say to students as they’re coming back right now? Um, for their, for their senior year of high school, what would you say to that? To that population?

Jobrina Perez: [00:09:11] Yeah. Um, first I think I would start off. I would just like to encourage the class of 2021, because I think the first step is recognizing that the year you’re stepping into.

It’s going to be really different in, it can be hard and there will be days, weeks or a month or so. That’s just, it’s inevitably going to be hard. Um, but I challenge, I want to challenge the class of 20, 21 too. Not stay stuck in that mindset to not, um, you know, think that. This is a way that it’s always going to be okay and fall into the victim mindset of.

Hopelessness. And that there’s no hope for me. Um, and because everything is different than, um, I, I, and it’s not going to be, I’m not going to be able to reach the goals or the dreams that I have set for myself and that I have worked for these past four years. Um, I want to challenge them to, um, remember that they’ve worked so hard, uh, all of these past three years, and to continue to work hard their senior year.

Um, and do you remember that they’re advisors that are there for them in their go center and their college center? Whoever they have around them appear a mentor. To lean on them and to remember, um, to call on a friend or on an advisor, whenever they need a little bit of encouragement or whenever they

Nicole Hurd: [00:10:43] need a little bit of help, because

Jobrina Perez: [00:10:45] sometimes, you know, you can’t see the potential for yourself and you, and you, you know, you need the people to be able to call out that potential and you as a student.

And so, um, my advice there would be, you know, lean on your advisors cause that’s what they sign up for. They signed up to. Help you to support you through your college selection process, the application process. And, um, they, they, they, they’re choosing to be there for you so lean on them because things are going to get hard, but

Nicole Hurd: [00:11:17] acknowledge that it’s hard,

Jobrina Perez: [00:11:18] but then, you know, keep moving on and moving forward and figure out how can I overcome this challenge?

That’s right in front of me and how can I make this better for myself and for the people. Around me, because I’m a big believer that you

Nicole Hurd: [00:11:31] think is the place you’re going to

Jobrina Perez: [00:11:32] go. So if you’re constantly thinking all of these negative things and

Nicole Hurd: [00:11:35] that’s the place you’re going to go, but if you’re

Jobrina Perez: [00:11:36] thinking, you know, like I can do this, so I am powerful or I am smart.

Like that is my challenge to the class

Nicole Hurd: [00:11:46] of 2021. So it’s a great challenge to agree. And thank you for sharing that I will say. Um, you know, one of the things I’m concerned about is, um, Really, how do we encourage students to use their voice? Right. Um, and I think one of the reasons why, um, I called this episode being brave, uh, is because it takes bravery to use your voice.

Right? I think you to be out there. Using your voice, whichever way you do it means you have to be brave. I mean, look it I’m, I’m doing exactly what you said, Joe Brina. I’m trying to be brave by doing a podcast. So I brought the two of you with me. So I’m, I’m absolutely acting out on your, on your advice there, but, but you know, why can’t, I think about how brave it is to be in your shoes, right?

I’ve watched you introduce legislation. I’ve watched you go into places that are uncomfortable. I’ve watched you have an incredible recently about. Latinos in Hollywood and the importance of representation. So where do you get your voice and your first student out there, who’s scared. Use their voice.

Where do you get your you’re kind of inside you? Where does that bravery come from?

Joaquin Castro: [00:12:56] Well, you know, I mean, I grew up in a family that was very committed to grassroots politics and my mom was very active in the Mexican American civil rights movement. So for years, a lot of it was. Uh, growing up around people in my family, people that I was close to that cared a great deal about a lot of the issues that I work on now.

Uh, but then also I think there’s a lot of energy or a lot of, um, support for me. At least it comes from the people that I represent the people of San Antonio here, as I talk to people about what’s going on in their lives, uh, and the frustrations they feel. I mean, some of the excitement, they feel everything.

Uh, I re I tend to feed off of that, and that helps me a lot in what I do. Um, and so I think just being surrounded by, by people who care about these things, gives me a great deal of energy to go out there and advocate

Nicole Hurd: [00:13:50] for them. Sabrina, what makes you brave?

Jobrina Perez: [00:13:57] Uh, yeah, that’s a great question. Similarly, I would agree that, you know,

Having people around me who have similar goals or similar mindset is something that keeps me going on the data. There’s this saying? Some of you may have heard of it, but there’s always, um, someone who has it worse or someone who has it better than you, you know? Oh. And so I often will try to yeah. Put myself in those positions.

I am able to. Serve someone who has a different circumstance than me. Yeah. When you are serving someone in a community that’s maybe more marginalized or more vulnerable than the community that you may have grown up in your PR

Nicole Hurd: [00:14:47] your

Jobrina Perez: [00:14:47] perspective gets put into place a little bit more.

Nicole Hurd: [00:14:49] You, your, you changed

Jobrina Perez: [00:14:50] perspectives, I should say.

Um, and you recognize that, you know, what you have is.

Nicole Hurd: [00:14:56] Actually not that bad and maybe,

Jobrina Perez: [00:14:57] you know, it’s good to be, uh, maybe more grateful or thankful for the things that you do have, and yeah, you, um, I think for me personally, I know that it challenges me. Just, you know, take, uh, for the sake of bettering my community, you know?

Um, and so I think placing, like being surrounded by people who have similar minds, um, and then recognizing that what I’m doing is not for myself, right. It’s for my community, it’s for, uh, the people that I’m around. And, um, it’s those people that challenged me to do better and to be better is, um, by just like listening to other people’s stories.

And being surrounded by people’s stories who are different than you. Um, and so.

Nicole Hurd: [00:15:46] Yeah. I think what you both just reflected so beautifully is the importance of service. Right? I think when we all serve a, it puts us in a different space. Right. And that, um, they had called the service real. And, uh, when you trying to be brave, um, you also need to remember why you do it.

And I think, uh, the two of you do it in service and that’s one of the reasons why you’re your heroes in my book. So I’m so grateful for both of you. Um, we’re gonna wrap up, but I just wanna say, um, Joaquin, any final words you want to say to, to everybody out there as we, as we wrap,

Joaquin Castro: [00:16:17] I just want to say, you know, I know that everybody is going through a very tough time.

Um, a lot of people’s health has been harmed. Um, people have fam family members, uh, who have lost their jobs. Maybe some of the students lost their jobs during this pandemic. And so folks are very anxious and very nervous. Uh, but. I won’t focus as much as possible to believe that the plan that they put in motion, you know, find that they’ve set forth, that they’ll be able to see it through.

Right. And there’ll be able to, you know, if they’re going into their last year of high school or their junior year, that they’ll be able to go onto college and graduate and go onto their career and that they should continue to plan for that.

Jobrina Perez: [00:17:01] Well, I’ve

Nicole Hurd: [00:17:01] been saying this. I think your brain has heard me say this multiple times as we went through a pretty bumpy spring together.

Uh, I know you’ve heard me say this a Joaquin, but when it keeps sharing, you know, love is not canceled. Uh, opportunity is not canceled. Uh, we are not canceled, right. So, so let’s keep at it. Um, thank you both for the loving light irradiate. Thank you both for the service you give. Uh, and hopefully we’ve inspired some students and advisers today to, to keep going.

Um, they are not canceled and we believe in them. So thank you both so much. Uh, for everything you do. Thank you so much.