Student Spotlight 2023: Julian Nunez, U.S. Air Force
Tell us about yourself.
I am from Countryside, Illinois, and I served six years in the Air Force as a heavy equipment operator. I joined the Air Force because I lacked the initiative to thrive in high school. I was not meeting the standards my family expected of me or the standards I envisioned for myself. Setting myself up for failure was not an option after high school, and I knew I had to make a change.
A fun fact about myself is that I really enjoy skateboarding. I have been skateboarding my whole life and want to continue as long as I can. Skateboarding has taught me valuable skills such as determination when learning a new trick, challenging myself to try something new at the park, and overcoming obstacles. The community is so rich and pure, with everyone being very supportive, no matter your skill level.
Why did you decide to participate in WSP this summer, and was there a shift in your confidence level from the first day of the course to the last day?
I received my associate’s degree in the spring of 2023 before attending WSP. I decided to participate in the humanities and STEM program at UIUC to challenge myself academically and better prepare for life in higher education. I was fairly confident on the first day. I was ready to take notes and determined to perform well, as I was holding myself to a high standard. Little did I know how humbling the rest of the week would be. The last day of the course could not have been so relieving. It was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and relief.
What were some key insights you gained during your course, and what is your biggest takeaway?
Some key insights I gained during the course were the value of communicating, having an open mindset, and asking questions. These things are helpful not only in pursuing my degree but for my career as well.
How would you describe your overall experience?
Experimental! I had no idea what to expect going into this course, but I knew it would be different and that it would be a change from active duty. No one likes change, and no one wants to feel uncomfortable, especially in a setting where you will be challenged academically. WSP did exactly this, and it made me better for it. WSP is necessary for all veterans/service members transitioning from service to higher education.