Finding the Best Part of Yourself – Yakira Gonzalez

“One of my high school teachers was a Meredith alumna and she brought me to tour the campus. I instantly fell in love with the campus, traditions, and small classroom size. I loved the atmosphere and tight-knit community.

As a first-generation college student, navigating the college application process was extremely difficult. My family and I had no idea about the application process, FAFSA, insurance, etc. I remember signing papers and hoping that I was signing the correct thing. Now, as a senior, I look back and am so glad I never gave up and continued the process no matter how lost or overwhelmed I felt. Two of my cousins ended up attending Meredith at the same time as I did and I have enjoyed every moment here.

Coming into Meredith I was undecided on what to study. I found my love for psychology later on through several courses. I thought my psychology classes were very interesting and knew this was an area I wanted to pursue. Our brain is so powerful and learning about how humans interact and work around the brain is fascinating.

Building connections with professors has helped me develop a sense of belonging. It feels so good to walk through a hallway and have a professor recognize me by my name. I cherish every professor who has helped me during my time at Meredith and has guided me through becoming a strong individual. I am so happy to be leaving with connections and life advice from faculty and friends.

I was always super involved in high school, and at first, I found it hard to get involved at Meredith because of the pandemic. Slowly, I began joining clubs and interacting with other students. I was the co-president for Angeles Latines during my senior year and it was such a heartwarming experience. It felt so nice to create a safe space for self-identified Latine students to come together and share ideas. I was also part of the Meredith Autism Program and had an internship at the Frankie Lemmon School and Development Center, both of which solidified my career choice.

I have found the best part of myself in college. I see a different person than the girl who moved into Heilman her freshman year. I have learned to accept my downfalls and cherish my accomplishments. I have had obstacles over the past four years that I had to find ways to overcome without them affecting my education.

After graduating, I plan to pursue my master’s in occupational therapy. I am confident that Meredith has prepared me for what’s to come. I have built on my strengths and will continue to use them beyond college.”