Often times, in conversations about my college choice, people ask me: “Why Reno?” The answer goes way back to when I was five years old.
My family and I used to do “dream boards” when my brothers and I were growing up. We would all sit together, and draw or cut out from magazines things or experiences we wanted to have in the future. My parents taught us that the ability to dream gives us a sense of encouragement and that we’d have to work hard for what we want.
When I was five I was working on my dream board and as I was going through a National Geographic magazine I found the most beautiful scenery I had seen yet: a turquoise, crystal-clear gigantic lake, surrounded by snow-covered mountains and peaceful dense trees all around. I felt so attracted to that dreamy place. I instantly cut and pasted it on my dream board. Later on, my dad told me the lake was called Tahoe. Then, as I grew older I started to dream about coming to the US for college. I would cut pictures of college campuses, books and students studying together and would visualize myself there one day.
Fast forward to 15 years later, I was blessed with the opportunity to come study in the U.S. thanks to the CRUSA Scholarship. A few days later they sent me a list of community colleges to pick from. I googled every college until I got to Truckee Meadows Community College. I clicked on the images section and scrolling down a very familiar picture showed up. It was Lake Tahoe! I researched about TMCC and found out it was a great college and location. At that moment I knew Reno was the perfect place to start my college journey.
Now that I have been here for more than a year, my life is so different from what it used to be back home. I feel like a sponge, absorbing everything I have been learning for more than a year now. Many of my habits have changed for the better and I really enjoy my life here. Every now and then I like to catch a break from the routine to enjoy the nature around me by taking a trip to Tahoe, Donner Lake or California. However, during the semester, my daily routine is a mix of 4 classes, work, studying and trying to still socialize, eat healthy, work out and get 8 hours of sleep every night (the struggles of every college student!)
My day starts around 7 am when I wake up and get ready for the day. I start work every day at 9 am, at the International Student Services Office at TMCC. As an International Peer Mentor I meet with our students to guide and advise them in any way, prepare our office for International Coffee Hour events, give presentations, answer phone calls and help plan events for our students. I love to meet people from other countries and work on bringing people together.
After that I either go to Calculus 2 or Physics for Engineers at noon. I am out of class by 1:40 and I have a quick lunch before I start my other work shift as Vice President at the Student Government Association Office at 2 pm. As the Vice President, I chair the Finance Committee, work on projects and attend meetings to work on benefiting our students’ experience at TMCC. In the evening I have Computer Science class twice a week. I really enjoy this class even though it is a bit challenging for me. I feel like I am learning a completely different language, but it feels rewarding when hours of coding pay off when my programs compile… most of the time!
I am also part of the International Club and Latin Dance Club and we meet once a week. I love spending time with people from TMCC by either learning about each other’s cultures or dancing!
Fridays are my favorite day because every other week I have my Intro to Renewables Energy class which I am enjoying so much! My professor is absolutely amazing and I have learned so much about renewable energies, how technology is advancing rapidly to come up with better ways to produce cleaner energy and sustainability optimization. Friday afternoons I go to the TMCC gym and work out to some good music. It’s my favorite way to end a busy and productive week.
In the evenings I usually come home around 7 or 8 pm. I usually cook something quick or have food already prepared. Most nights I like to go to the University of Nevada, Reno Knowledge Center (library) which is 5 min away from my house. My friends and I do study groups together, work on projects or homework.
During the weekends, I like to sleep in, go for runs at the River Walk in downtown Reno and hang out with my friends. I love visiting new restaurants in Reno, cooking meals with my housemates or doing fun outdoor activities. I always take some time during the weekend to study, especially during midterms or finals. I also find it necessary to review during the weekend especially if I am struggling with a certain topic.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all that is going on, but it takes me about a minute to step back and look at how blessed I am to be here, living the dreams that were on my dream board as a child, getting to know amazing people and living in such a great city. Don’t underestimate the power of dream boards… they take you places.
Valeria Saborio is from Costa Rica and is pursuing her Industrial and Systems Engineering degree at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.