16:21 PM

UHCL first-generation college grad ‘sets the standard’ for his family

Written by: Lauren Sawyer

With his disciplined approach to achieving all his goals, University of Houston-Clear Lake senior Daniel Medina is graduating this fall with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. After completing his associate degree at San Jacinto Community College, the first-generation college student struggled to decide where to attend school next. Having constant setbacks applying to other universities, Daniel said that all changed when he applied to UH-Clear Lake.

“The first appointment I made at UHCL, I was done in one day. It’s almost like it was divine timing. Everything happened perfectly,” Daniel said. “I stressed so much during that time because my education meant a lot to me. The admissions department alleviated that stress.”

Daniel fell in love with communications when he was exposed to video production in the seventh grade. He originally planned to become an engineer, but he soon learned his passion for spotlighting projects and creating content gave him unique experiences that pushed him out of his comfort zone.

Associate Professor of Communication and Public Relations Anna Klyueva was one of the first people to broaden the idea of what communications meant for Daniel.

“I took her crisis communications course,” he said. “It was one of the first classes I took after transferring, and I learned so much about communications aside from content. I wrote one of the best papers I’ve ever written in my life in that class.”

The Houston native said one significant adversity he faced during his academic journey was time management, but he overcame it by “staying the course.” College taught him the value of discipline and adaptability, which are skills he will carry throughout his life.

“Balancing coursework, extracurricular activities and my personal life was demanding. Especially when you are passionate about multiple things,” Daniel said. “Overcoming this adversity required me to develop strong organizational skills, effective time management strategies, and the ability to prioritize my responsibilities.”

Daniel added that spending a lot of time at UHCL’s Campus Recreation and Wellness contributed to his mental and physical well-being and success.

“The gym is my church. It is one of the nicest gyms I visit, and it is so calming for me,” he said. “I check-in at least twice per week. The equipment is nice, and I always feel welcomed.”’

Daniel said he is grateful for his professors, advisors, mentors, and friends he met at UHCL. But he is especially grateful for his parents, whose support and guidance have been instrumental in shaping his perspective and overcoming obstacles.

“They never told me ‘no.’ I have never been alone even when I want to be alone,” he said. “I want to thank them for that. When I walk across the stage in December, I’ll be able to show them just how thankful I am,” he explained. “I’ll be the first person in my family to graduate college, and that really sets a new standard.”

For more information about UHCL’s College of Human Sciences and Humanities, visit www.uhcl.edu/human-sciences-humanities/. For more information about Fall 2023 Commencement, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/commencement/.