Choosing the Right Path
Student of the Week: Carlos Zarate
"I used to compare myself to all of my classmates who graduated before me while I took a little longer to finish but as I put on my cap and gown I knew I chose the right path after all.”
Arriving from Reynosa as a standout student with previous college experience in physical therapy, Carlos Zarate said he never could have imagined where his journey would lead him upon arriving at South Texas College
Following in the footsteps of his sister, who is also a former student at STC, Zarate, 27, said the college enabled him to instead follow a life-long passion for engineering with the hopes of one day working for Tesla.
But with challenges presented by a language barrier, and faced with a global pandemic in 2020, Zarate said life as an international student was never easy.
“When I arrived I really thought that Physical Therapy was for me, but my journey led me here to the Engineering program,” he said. “But really when I arrived I knew the first thing I had to do was learn basic English to help me communicate and so I practiced for a year before I felt ready to enter college. I knew the Engineering program here was perfect for me.”
The Associate of Science degree with a field of study in Engineering offers students the opportunity to take a core curriculum of general education with an emphasis on Engineering. At the present time, a high percentage of all the technical and managerial positions in industry are occupied by engineers.
The program at STC also closely parallels the first two years of education students receive at most engineering schools. In fact, many STC program graduates transfer to an engineering school and obtain a bachelor’s degree in one of the various engineering fields.
Five years later after arriving at South Texas College, Zarate was among the 3,100 graduates who received their degrees in five ceremonies May 6-7. He now plans to attend the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and work for his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.
As a message to students, Zarate says that no matter the situation, if you focus on your dream, you will get there on your own time, no matter if it takes more time than initially expected.
“I would love to work for Tesla one day, that’s my dream job,” Carlos said. “I have always loved working with cars and understanding all the components. It just goes to show you that there are always mental challenges. I used to compare myself to all of my classmates who graduated before me while I took a little longer to finish but as I put on my cap and gown I knew I chose the right path after all.”