Andrea Carrizales can be described in two words: hardworking and persistent. After immigrating to Texas from Mexico, this collegiette found a passion for volunteerism. As president of the Rotaract Club, an organization affiliated with the Mesquite Texas Rotary Club (a local unit of Rotary International), Andrea works hard to make lives better both in her community and around the world. From coordinating a donation campaign for the people of Nepal affected by the earthquake to organizing local clothing drives in Dallas, this collegiette is a rising leader in local and international volunteerism.
Andrea is working toward her dream of attending Harvard after completing two years at Eastfield College, her current university—while also writing for and editing the school newspaper, tutoring other students in English and Spanish, serving as both vice president of student government and vice president of service for Phi Theta Kappa, blogging for the Dallas County Community College District, and interning for both Media Projects Inc. and the Eastfield College Office of Communications.
Name: Andrea Carrizales
College: Eastfield College
Major: Human Rights with a minor in Communications
Graduation Year: 2016 for Associate’s Degree, 2018 for Bachelor’s Degree
Hometown: Mesquite, TX
Twitter Handle: @that_andyc
Instagram Handle: that_andyc
Her Campus: What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
Andrea Carrizales: My greatest achievement so far would be being able to adapt to another culture. When I moved to Texas from Mexico, I wasn’t at all ready for the challenges I found. Even though I had studied English at school and I could read, write, and understand English quite well in my classes, I wasn’t prepared for the Texas accent. I remember I had to ask a person to repeat his/herself sometimes up to three times for me to finally understand them.
Even though I was highly unprepared for life in the U.S., I didn’t let that discourage me. On the contrary, the difficulties I faced inspired me to work harder and more diligently, in order to achieve my dreams.
HC: What was the hardest part of your transition from Mexico to the United States, and what do you wish you had known to make the transition easier?
AC: I think the hardest thing for me was the fact that I had to create new friendships and relationships, because all my friends and family–except for my immediate family–were in Mexico. The fact that my English wasn’t very good made it even harder to communicate with my classmates and teachers.
Although learning English in an American setting was at times very stressful, I’m happy I had the opportunity, which in turn also allowed me to see that trying something new and failing is the best way of learning it.
Something I wish I had known earlier is how to navigate through the college admissions process. I remember my family and I went though a great struggle when I was about to graduate from high school; since my parents didn’t attend college in the U.S. they felt like they couldn’t help me. I’m happy to say that it all turned out for the best and I have found a great place to grow at Eastfield College.
HC: Why has your participation with Rotary International been so instrumental in your life, and where can others learn more about the organization?
AC: I joined Eastfield Rotaract last fall because I wanted to be active in my community and volunteer. By attending RYLA North America this summer, I realized how Rotary has impacted the lives of people all around the world as they continue promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies.
Rotaract is a wonderful community for 18 to 30 year olds who are passionate about service. To learn more about how to be part of Rotary International and Rotaract, visit our website and locate a club in your area.
HC: What words of advice do you have for young women who share your current circumstances and are struggling with finances, a college workload, and extracurriculars all while adapting to a new environment?
AC: There will be days when it might seem impossible to keep on doing all those extracurriculars, when getting a third job might seem the only way, or when getting a C on a test might seem like something to celebrate. My advice is, don’t let these days dictate your life. Do something that you truly love and dedicate yourself to it. When you’re doing what you’re passionate about, then having a bad day will be an opportunity to improve, and you will see how, with a good attitude, everything else will fall into place.
HC: What are your top goals and priorities post-graduation?
AC: As I will soon graduate community college, I am looking at 4-year universities I could transfer to. I have my heart set on Harvard University, the very top of education in the whole world. I plan to obtain a double Bachelor’s degree in Human Rights and Communications.
At the same time, I plan to work in a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, such as the Human Rights Watch. I want to work as a reporter, traveling to countries where the rights of the people are violated by those in power. I believe that one of the most important tools to bring change to these areas is the knowledge of the unjust circumstances in other parts of the world.
After working for a couple years in the field, I plan to return to school. I want to work toward acceptance in Harvard Law School, where I will specialize in Human Rights.
While doing this, I’ll keep on working with many volunteer associations like Rotary International and Girls Inc.
HC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
AC: “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.” —Coco Chanel
Although I have many favorite quotes, this quote by Coco Chanel is very special. I like it because it keeps me down to earth by reminding me that the best things in life are certainly not things, but people. My parents and my sisters, who have supported me and continue to inspire me always are those “best things.”
Alicia serves as an Assistant Editor for Her Campus. She graduated from Penn State in 2015 with degrees in Journalism and Spanish and a minor in International Studies. Before she joined HC full-time, Alicia worked for the editorial team as an intern, editor of the Her Story section, editor of the Career section, standard content writer, viral content writer, and News Blogger. When she's not busy writing or editing, Alicia enjoys attempting to become a yogi, cooking, practicing her wine tasting skills, hanging out with her Friends (you know—Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe & Joey?) and city-hopping her way across the globe. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @aliciarthomas.