The Road to Success - Zach Jaramillo

In my final senior moments, I look back and reflect on those days as a bright-eyed, eager freshman who couldn’t wait to take college by storm. It feels like decades ago and yesterday all at the same time. My collegiate journey was anything but orthodox—but it has definitely shaped me into the person that I’ve become today.

I wasn’t always the golden gopher that I am so proud to be today. I actually started college at Loyola University Chicago. Coming from a small suburb in south Texas, I was fascinated by the bright lights and the big city. I was so in love with Chicago that I couldn’t possibly imagine living anywhere else in the world. However, after some family issues came up, I had to leave Loyola and go back to Texas. Being the obsessive planner that I am, there was no way that I was going to let a minor setback put my degree on hold, so I modified my original game plan and re-strategized.

That’s how I wound up at the University of Texas. Austin was a great city that boasted incredibly youthful vibes and a legendary live music scene. It also wasn’t bad that the University of Texas had one of the top PR programs in nation. However, I knew that it wasn’t the place where I would be able to flourish to my full potential. After all, I originally left Texas for a reason—to expand my horizons and experience all that the world has to offer.

I used my time in Texas as a "building year,” to truly figure out not only what I wanted out of my college experience, but what I wanted out of life—kind of a monumental task for a 19-year-old. I loved that the University of Texas was a big university with a huge population of students, but I also longed for the metropolitan lifestyle that I had immediately taken to in Chicago. Was there any place in this world that could possibly offer both?

That’s where the University of Minnesota came in. It met all of my requirements: great PR program, metropolitan area with a hub of agencies, and a Big 10 University where I definitely wouldn’t miss out on the college experience of tailgating and gopheralls. Even though I started out here as a junior in college, it felt like I had been here all along. Sure, I can’t exactly relate to the stories about days in T-Hall, but frankly I’m not too bummed about missing out on those experiences.

Maybe my college memories don’t follow the same linear structure as my peers, but I wouldn’t trade mine for anything because of the experiences I’ve had. What other college students can say that they lived in three different cities within three years? If there’s one thing that college has taught me, it’s that success is not linear. Ever. Like at all. It’s something that I’m trying to remind myself as I continue to pursue a career after graduation. My mind is set on being an entertainment publicist in New York, but who knows? If my career path ends up being anything like my collegiate path, by this time next year, I’ll be working as a news anchor in Tokyo. And you know what? That’s okay too—because this is just one tiny first step of what I hope to be an incredibly long journey. 

- Zach Jaramillo