Sacrifice for your goals
Student of the Week: Juan De Leon
“I was coming to in-person classes but when the pandemic hit, everything moved online, and I just decided to keep on going. There’s really nothing standing in my way.”
Valley native, full-time student and veteran, Juan De Leon will soon hold two associate degrees and a bachelor's in computer science thanks to South Texas College.
De Leon always knew he would earn a bachelor's when exiting out of the military but by being on the move, his degree was put on hold.
“I actually went into the medical field to hopefully have a better chance of doing that but being assigned to the 101st airborne battalion they said, ‘OK we are going to be here for three to four months and if I had a chance to take a class I would and slowly but surely, I completed an associate in technology,” shares De Leon.
Though his first associate degree was not with STC, he recalls his interest in the technology field while in high school where he was a part of a program. De Leon knew he could apply those skills in the future with STC’s help.
That is when De Leon enrolled at the college in Spring 2020 and thought it was the “perfect timing” regardless of a pandemic, in earning that bachelor's degree.
“I was coming to in-person classes but when the pandemic hit, everything moved online, and I just decided to keep on going,” said De Leon. “There’s really nothing standing in my way.”
His determination has led him to soon earning his second associate in cybersecurity this fall and a bachelor's in computer science next fall.
A mantra that has been “stuck in his mind” that keeps him moving forward is, “Sacrifice for your goals because if you don’t, your goals become your sacrifice.”
He adds that oftentimes students may get stuck living life in a rut and while that happens, life passes when we're busy doing other things.
He hopes to lend a helping hand in assisting companies with cybersecurity or expanding broadband internet networks to rural areas in the Rio Grande Valley.
“Part of the infrastructure plan is to expand broadband internet to rural areas and there’s a lot that we have that I could see myself doing day in and day out,” he said. “Being able to make it accessible not only through conventional ways but in unconventional ways that will broadcast internet service to wide areas,” he adds.
He references the City of McAllen’s available free hot spots located throughout the city for students and the community.
While there has been an increase in cybersecurity attacks and the need for online education amid the pandemic, De Leon said these actions are going to be immediate.
“Somebody is going to have to do it and with the recent infrastructure plan that has passed, it’s going to be in the immediate future.”
He advises students who want to improve their future and the future of their families is through education.