International spotlight: A few words from graduating international students

After years of experience with student organizations and leadership positions at St. Thomas, Ajay George (2009-10 International Student Leadership Award winner) and Felipe Jaque Pino (2009-10 Global Citizenship Student Award winner) are offering some words of advice for all students interested in getting involved on campus.

Ajay George, a native of India, relaxes between classes.

Ajay George, a native of India, relaxes between classes.

  • Find something you are interested in: Both students encourage people to get involved in clubs and activities such as GMSA, CultureLink, USG, the International Student Ambassador Program, and many more. Whatever your interest, there is something for you. If you cannot find what you are looking for, you can start one.
  • Stick to a few and do the best you can: “Many know the saying ‘jack of all trades but a master of none,’ which can apply to students who are overinvolved. Be a focused leader in a few positions,” George said. “It is impossible to do everything,” Pino added.
  • Apply even if you think you will not get it: “I applied for numerous positions that I did not think I would get, and luckily I did because they shaped the rest of my career at UST. One position can open the door for another,” Pino said.
  • Share your culture: “Introduce people to your culture. People are respectful and open to learning about you,” Pino remarked. “Do not be afraid to share your culture. People here are interested and like to see others sharing,” George said.
  • Be confident: “Be confident in yourself and do not doubt your English abilities,” Pino said.
  • Get to know people: “Get to know a lot of people. This is a great community where small connections can lead to knowing a lot of people. If people know about you and your involvements on campus, they are more likely to come to your events,” George remarked. “Do not be closed to one circle of people. Open your arms to various groups and get to know as many people as you can,” Pino added.
  • Use all the resources on campus: “Take advantage of all the resources on campus, such as the Writing Center. Whatever you need help with, there is a resource on campus for you,” Pino commented.
  • Leadership experience should be paired with work/internship experiences: “Apply as soon as you know what you want to do. Outside experience is important,” Pino said. George added, “Go to job and career fairs on campus and try to find an off-campus internship to gain practical work experience. An internship may lead to a future employment opportunity and a great career.”
  • Classes first: “I wish someone would have told me this before I started getting involved; always put your classes first. Your grades are very important, so do not let them slide because of being over involved,” Pino said.
Felipe Jaque Pino

Felipe Jaque Pino

To all the graduating seniors, “No matter where you go, UST is your base. All your experiences and education will get you in a good place no matter where you are,” George said. Pino added,“Make sure to use the Career Development Center on campus. It has great resources and will help you with crucial things, such as your résumé.”

“You never know what you are truly capable of unless you take on something that challenges you,” George advised. “While you are out there, connect with the UST community throughout the world!”