Have you ever wondered why people select a certain major? For some the answer may be simple, and for others there are more twists and turns in their academic journey.

Knowing this was an important life decision, Christian Hernandez looked both within and to his future goals: “My personal values align with community building and engagement. In selecting a major I decided to pursue communications because of its ubiquitous nature and the opportunity to use the skills acquired in school to help people. I also studied history and immersed myself in philosophy, democratic styles of thought, and the study of war and peace and then the reconciliation process that provided me with a deeper understanding of the human condition.”

Understanding others starts with knowing and understanding yourself, and this process can take time. The same is true for financial literacy, says Hernandez, who began saving with Earn to Learn his freshman year at Arizona State University.

“One of the hardest aspects of getting started with saving is making those primary investments,” he said. “I wasn’t able to see the long term benefit. I initially aimed at saving $84 a month, but quickly realized that it wasn’t working for me. Everything changed in finding that balance of knowing how much I can realistically save.”

Even after reducing his monthly deposit, he still struggled with the idea of saving versus spending. “I would swallow those negative feelings of missing out on an event or having something I thought I wanted, and would say to myself Just do it.”

Saving is now habit for Christian. “Now that I have a precedent for saving and understand the longer term benefit, I have moved into a space of financial stability. I continue to allocate more of my income to savings after deducting monthly expenses. What’s left over I can spend on myself.”

At this year’s ASU Evening of Honors, Christian spoke and shared his vision for changing the world. “Change starts within you, that’s the first step. I want the world to be more inclusive, musical, and a place that promotes the skills, actions, and abilities of its inhabitants. I have been developing my own music and started an organization called The Heart of an Artist where students can meet weekly to share their music.”

Listening and supporting others comes naturally to him, and he’s known for being an inclusive and positive person in his community. Christian credits his family, especially his father and mother, for providing the encouragement he needed to be successful. Looking back he remembers Rogelio Ruiz, his high school counselor who first told him about Earn to Learn. Throughout his college career Gabriela Jimenez, then assistant to the dean, helped him identify opportunities for experience and employment. Last but not least, Monica Crespo from the Central Arizona Earn to Learn team always met him with an equal amount of positivity every time he walked into the office and helped keep him on track.

Christian signs off every email with a quote from entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk: “Macro patience, micro speed.” It’s all about realizing that you need to dedicate your time diligently to achieve big goals and not expect some big break to just magically happen to you. Christian Hernandez is truly an inspiring young man, one who forfeits instant gratification for what he knows will be a much bigger payoff in the not-so-distant future. We can’t wait to see how you and your vision change the world!

Posted on: May 26, 2017