When Robby Reyna took Calculus 3 and Physics 1 at University of Houston for his post-baccalaureate degree in geology and geophysics, it was his second time. The first time he took them in engineering school, he failed one and barely passed the other. This time he passed both.
He explains the difference between these experiences. "The classes were just as hard here at UH, but I have a better grasp on why I'm taking these hard classes and I've learned that, when there is a why, I can figure out how to do hard tasks."
His why is his goal of becoming an Environment Professional who performs site assessments and remediation. This goal, as well as the financial support he has received, keep him motivated. Working in the mailroom of the library, he learned about the scholarships offered through the UH library and applied. He was granted the Catherine McGovern Library Scholarship.
"I've always had imposter syndrome where I feel I don't deserve the things I have. The scholarship allowed me to take ownership of my education. It helped me convince myself that I deserve to be getting this education, and there are other people who feel I deserve it too."
Reyna understands how discouraging imposter syndrome and a sense of a lack of direction can be for students. He started college in an engineering school in Colorado and felt unsure of what he ultimately wanted to do with the degree. He didn't apply himself fully to his classes because he struggled to understand their relevance to his future.
Deciding to follow his interests, he transferred to Texas A&M and switched to an Environmental Studies degree. Once he graduated and started applying for jobs, he realized that his degree wasn't technical enough to qualify him for the work he wanted to do. This realization was what brought him back to Houston, his hometown, and to UH.
He credits his father for giving him the wisdom to take this step. His father told him, "It's never too late," and these words gave him the encouragement he needed to pursue what he really wanted to do with his life. Now armed with a sense of purpose and financial support, he feels empowered to confront adversity and finish his degree. He hopes other potential donors understand the impact of their generosity.
"Whatever you believe the impact of your donations will be, the reality will probably surpass your greatest hopes. You never know what sort of mindset change people can have after they receive this support."