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UT Senior Cesar Campos-The 2244 Interview by Damian Martinez

2244 Interview- Cesar Campos, pictured above, is a graduating senior at the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy. Cesar loves to go to hiking with his dog Pongo, who is also pictured above, and hopes to move to stay in Austin or move to Colorado after graduation to find fulfilling work that he feels can make a difference. Below is our interview, conducted in a North Austin coffee shop.

"What's your major?

I'm a Psychology major.

What's the most valuable lesson your major has taught you?

Oh, definitely how to better understand where someone is coming from. It's too easy to dismiss other people's ideas and experiences but psychology, and other social sciences, give us the tools to see just how people are molded by their experiences and their past. I've learned to be way more empathetic and understanding, especially with perspectives and opinions I don't really agree with.

What are your plans after graduation?

I'd like to work in a non-profit or in local government to help people who struggle with homelessness and substance-abuse. Seeing the growing wealth disparity in Austin has exposed me to people struggling with these issues and I've really connected with them and their stories. I'd like to help them as much as I can, and hopefully provide a voice for the Austinites that need a little help.

What advice would you tell someone confused on what to major in?

That's a tough one. So many people assume college is only about majoring in something that will attract the highest paying employer. Money should absolutely be something you consider when choosing a major, but it's also important to choose something you think will empower you to utilize your interests and passions. There are enough pencil pushers and we all have something unique to offer. Find your niche and develop it in a productive and useful way to better serve your community.

How has your education prepared you for the work place?

It's given me a psychological understanding of the human brain and how it processes trauma. That's really useful for helping people get over that trauma and move past the painful and damaging parts of their lives, hopefully to pursue healthier and more productive lifestyles. I think it's also helped me work with others better and understand different work styles and motivations. It's basically made me better at working with people, which I appreciate because people are everything.

Does college effectively prepare students for "the real world"?

Some majors do it better than others. The world is a tough place to navigate, especially right out of college. It feels like a given major will either prepare you for the workforce, or prepare you to be in society and with people. I don't know of many that do a good job of preparing you for both in a balanced way.

Why did you decide to go to college?

I'm the first in my family to go to college, so I went mostly to be a good example to my siblings. I think it's also extremely hard to get a good paying job without a college degree. I'd like to model for my brothers and sisters how to transition into different economic classes and also help the rest of my family move up the ladder since they've done so much for me.

Would you have done anything differently?

I would have studied abroad. I spent my college years having a lot of fun in Austin, but I would have liked the opportunity to experience other cultures and see the world. I guess there's time to do that after college too, but it just feels different.

Has your major affected your outlook on life? How so?

It's made me more patient with other people, and especially with myself. Life is hard and it affects people in different ways, we have to make room to deal with it.

What's a misconception people have about college?

Most people think college is way harder and way more serious than it actually is. Yeah you have to keep your grades up, but the professors are usually pretty chill and understanding. It's very different from high-school in the fact that everyone there is an adult, so there are much different expectations.

Graduation is a very transformative period for many people, how do you hope to grow as a person after graduation?

I hope to have a job that is both fulfilling and provides security. Aside from that though, I want to become more sure of who I am and what life has in store for me. This will be the first time I'll be unrestrained by school and it feels exciting and freeing. It feels like there are so many possibilities in store and I'd like to refine myself and make my way in life, whatever that means.

Do you have any closing remarks on college, the state of today's work force, or anything concerning students our age and what the world demands from them?

The workforce seems to be a pretty volatile place lately, and it doesn't seem as predictable as it did when I was a kid. Expectations of employers and big businesses seem to also be changing, hopefully for the better. This generation of workers is more bold and willing to demand fair pay and treatment from their employers, and I hope that it'll cause some real reform in how we structure our lives around work and productivity. It seems more like we should be concerned with what the new graduates entering the workforce are going to demand from the world."


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