• May 13, 2024

STC English Graduate Balances Passion With Helping Others

STC English Graduate Balances Passion With Helping Others

South Texas College graduate Aylin Garza said she has immersed herself in community service, driving her ambition as a future firefighter, which she hopes will put her in the right place to help others in need.

Receiving her associate degree in English from STC on Saturday, Garza now looks ahead to entering the college’s Fire Academy in the fall.

Arriving at STC in 2021, Garza, 22, said her first challenge was melding two of her passions, literature and a newfound knowledge of fire science, into a plan she could use for a future career.

Her first key decision was signing up for classes virtually, which enabled her to balance her education with her volunteerism and her work life.

Attending STC courses completely online freed her up to begin volunteering for the Roma Fire Department as well as in local elementary schools, reading to small children in her spare time while sharing her knowledge of literature with the community.

“Right now, I’m working with the Roma Fire Department and even though they may seem like totally different subjects, the English courses I have taken at STC have helped me with my communication skills even as I only begin to scratch the surface in my future career in the fire service,” Garza said. “I have always wanted to help people and give back to my community and my work as a volunteer has helped me do that. From helping to respond to medical calls or grass fires, just being a volunteer is what made that shift for me to wanting to be a firefighter.”

Garza talks about a typical day. She volunteers with the fire department all day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then sets up at a local coffee shop where she studies and completes her assignments, usually finishing up at 11 p.m.

She said her work ethic she said was inspired by her instructors at STC who always motivated her to succeed.

“My professors had a big impact on me,” Garza said. “Over the last two semesters I’ve had some professors who would even still keep tabs on me and my classmates. They check up on us or invite us to events here on campus. I feel like it’s small things like that made a big impact and keep us motivated to finish our degrees and graduate.”

Garza was among the more than 3,000 graduates who received their degrees at STC’s commencement ceremonies at the Bert Odgen Arena.

“I’m going to be going to the fire academy in the fall, and my English degree is going to be used later as a backup plan for whenever I decide to leave the fire service,” Garza said. “College has been hard, but I found out that if you set your mind to it, you will definitely get there. I had that mentality once that I didn’t think I was going to be able to graduate, and here I am now about ready to step on that stage. I found it helpful to just surround myself with positive people and that has really helped me too.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *