Five Minutes with Aimee Jimenez

Aimee Jimenez
College: Texas State University
Major: Respiratory Care
Year: 2019 Graduate

You were born in Austin, but then moved to Mexico at a young age, before moving back to Austin for high school. What was that transition like and how did it impact your journey to Texas State?
It was very hard going back and forth. Luckily my parents made sure I was fluent in Spanish, so I wasn’t completely lost when we moved to Mexico, but it was overwhelming to go from having classes in all English to all Spanish. Not to mention all the resources I had access to in the United States were so much greater than those available in Mexico. But the experience changed me for the better and taught me to be grateful for what we have here in the U.S. Because of my experiences I have launched a number of school supplies fundraisers for various low-income schools in Mexico.

We know a big part of your move to Mexico was due to family obligations. Could you talk a bit more about your relationship with your father and the impact he had on your decision to purse a college degree?
My dad is the reason why I graduated. He never pushed me into joining a specific career path, but just supported me and was happy that I was doing something I enjoyed that I found challenging.

What was it about Texas State that made you realize it was the right fit for you?
I came to tour the university during the beginning of my junior year in high school and I remember walking through the library and just falling in love with the building. I told my teacher that I wanted to study in that library and sure enough it became my second home throughout my college career. I later came back on a second visit and fell in love with the entire campus and once I found out it offered my major, I just knew.

That is a great story! You noted that you were sold once you found it had your major, but you also changed majors along the way, right?
As a high school senior, my main goal was to attend medical school right after college. I started as a biology major thinking that was going to set me on that course. But then things changed as I began my freshman year. I had to work a lot because of a family issue and I had a reality check about what I was going to do if I didn’t have enough money to go directly into medical school after college.

During a career fair I learned about respiratory care and how it was a selective, challenging program that would guarantee me a job as soon as I graduated. My goal has always been to go to medical school and I am positive that will still happen, but I feel secure now knowing that I can find a good job with benefits that involves being in a hospital as I work to save for medical school. With my academic background (I’m also only four classes away from graduating with a psychology major) I hope to have the opportunity to become a psychiatrist or a pulmonologist. I have always thought that the more knowledge you have, the better.

You’ve also experienced some hardships with losing Pell Grant funding before your senior year. What was that experience like?
I was signed up for summer classes and two weeks before my first day, I got an email from financial aid saying my aid was suspended and I had to pay out of pocket. My Pell Grant had been denied because I had too many credits due to my double major. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it. I also lost my work-study position since it was part of my financial aid package. My other job, as an instructional assistant for the microbiology laboratory was also cut because their respiratory care program was moving to a different city. So essentially in a single day I lost all of my financial aid and both of my jobs. With the help of Dell Scholars and my parents, plus working night jobs I was thankfully able to graduate. The moment I heard my name called during graduation and with my family cheering for me, I knew I had to just put it all behind me and be proud of myself for staying focused no matter what obstacles had stood in my way. I had made it!

Amazing! And we are so proud of all you’ve accomplished and overcome! What are your post-graduation plans?
For now I have to take my national boards to get my license so that I can start applying for jobs.  I am extremely excited and nervous about it. I have started looking for jobs, preferably close to a university so I can finish my psychology degree and continue with my goal of enrolling in medical school.

Looking back on it, what was your favorite part about Texas State?
It would have to be the study nights at the library. Although they were always stressful, I always enjoyed them, especially when my friends were in the same boat as I was. We would all bring snacks and create a little camp in the library, take breaks, then get back to studying.

Now to our customary final question, what is some advice you have for your fellow Scholars?
Talk to everyone! You never know if that person can introduce you to a major that you never knew about or help you out in a class. College is about making friends and learning from them as you learn about yourself. My peers in my program had a huge impact on me and I feel like I survived those late night study sessions because of them.

Also make sure to enjoy yourself – do things that make you happy and try not to stress too much. Remember that everyone is in the same spot as you and has similar goals. And make sure to jump in that river after graduation (at least for Texas State students).