Senior finance major Victor Diaz finds support and success at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University
When Victor Diaz came to Barrett, The Honors College as a freshman, he was hoping for an experience that would challenge, uplift and inspire him through a rigorous academic environment, strong alumni network and diverse student body.
What he found brought him to the field of study that was right for him, gave him resources and connections that streamlined his college experience and guidance that helped him secure a job before graduating.
Diaz, now a senior majoring in finance with a Spanish minor and a business data analytics certificate, said Barrett was one of the main reasons he chose ASU. As an in-state student, it made sense to go to school near his home in Scottsdale, and as a first-generation college student, he liked Barrett’s diversity and student resources.
When he began as a first-semester freshman in Barrett, Diaz was a biology major—a path he quickly realized wasn’t right for him. He said conversations with friends and peers in the Barrett dining hall helped steer him in the right direction when finding a new major that better suited him.
“I really can say that Barrett was there to help like, find a different major, find a passion or try to figure out how my passions could be translated into a new major,” Diaz said. Without Barrett, he said, he wouldn’t have had the guidance to get back on track as a finance major his second semester.
“Barrett was definitely integral in finding my second major, finding my space within college and finding what I wanted to pursue,” Diaz said.
As he progressed through Barrett, taking the college’s signature freshman seminar course, The Human Event, and preparing to apply for jobs and internships, Diaz took advantage of Barrett’s advising, career development events and alumni network.
He said Barrett has always given him a strong support system both through its staff and faculty and his friends and roommates.
“Barrett kind of makes everything streamlined and I just feel like the connections from being an academically focused student, just kind of spark themselves in that moment, because everybody at Barrett, it’s a community of people that want to strive for more,” Diaz said.
Diaz said his Human Event instructors and their teaching assistants offered their time out of class to help him with writing papers while Barrett academic advisors and older honors students helped with his journey through the university.
“I feel like that's the thing with Barrett, it’s reliable and people are there, like people want to support you,” Diaz said. “And I think that's why I really enjoyed my time at Barrett.”
When he was working on internship applications last year, Diaz attended a resume workshop at the Barrett Student Engagement Center. There, he connected with a Barrett alumna who helped him develop his resume and gave him career advice.
“They’re Sun Devils themselves, they have been through W.P. Carey sometimes too and know it really well,” he said. “She gave me her business card and that really helped and, you know, made me feel comfortable, and I didn't even have to explain The Human Event or didn’t have to explain things that I wanted to bring to light. She already knew, and I find that so often in Barrett that it makes the whole Barrett experience awesome.”
Diaz said the help he got on his resume at events like these had a direct impact on his ability to land an internship this summer and a subsequent full-time job offer at Bank of America.
“I got help for my resume and got [it] on some nice paper and I just felt really good and confident, and I felt like there were great resources within Barrett and the people wanted me to succeed. I think that's really important when you're looking for internships, when you're looking for work, is to have a good support system,” Diaz said.
He said the things he learned at Barrett helped him through his internship as well, as he navigated both his first internship and his first time working with many different people entirely remotely due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Socratic seminar skills The Human Event taught him helped him connect with people from across the nation and around the world in a virtual environment.
“I think that's what Barrett is, it’s like a tremendous support system for people to boost your confidence, to get you back on track if you feel like you're missing something,” he said.
Diaz said the internship, though nerve-wracking, was a great experience. He went into the program without prior internship or job experience and had to learn the ropes of the job completely remotely due to COVID-19, but gained valuable experience relating to people in a virtual setting.
“That was awesome though, to get to know about people in a different way,” Diaz said. “The thing was everybody's going through the same thing, so when you just have that mindset and try to be caring and respectful, I think it really helped ease any of that anxiety, ease any doubts.”
To students who want to become a part of the Barrett community, Diaz says to focus on how to make the world a better place. He said the desire to give to the community and improve on things is what unites Barrett.
“I think my friends and I that are Barrett students, and you know even colleagues I've met that are from Barrett, understand that they strive for success and stuff because the world is bigger than us and it takes like a lot of effort and responsibility to achieve high-level things but we can do it together and we can do it by thinking outside the box and really focusing not on ourselves but everybody else,” Diaz said.
Story by Greta Forslund, a Barrett, The Honors College student studying journalism at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.