I would like my name displayed as Gisel P. Olivares, and here is my bio: Born in the Dominican Republic, and raised in New York City. Bilingual and with a basic proficiency level in French. Gisel is a Florida International University ’14 graduate who majored in Journalism and Mass Communication with a track in Public Relations and a minor in Business. A member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, in which she held the position of Marketing Coordinator from 2013-2014. Currently working as a full time Administrative Assistant at the College of Business and Technology in Miami. Tea enthusiast and a lover of languages, traveling, and writing.
Leaving New York City, my hometown, for Miami at 18 has been one of my greatest milestones yet. I have always been very attached to my family and was never the type to wish to leave and start over. But, considering that my dad was the one paying for my school, I had very little choice when he said, “You’re moving to Miami whether you like it or not because I know what’s best for you.” Like many college students, I had to leave my friends and family behind to embark on a new journey of discovery and self-fulfillment. Lucky for me, I did not have to live in a dorm. I moved in with my aunt just 25 minutes away from my new school, Florida International University.
At first, I was very angry at my father for basically choosing my college for me, but I also knew that unless he knew for sure that something was not good for me, he would not make me do something I didn’t want to do. My father aspired for a better life for me, and for my family as well. Believe it or not, our lives in Manhattan were very limited. Some people consider living in New York City as a dream come true and would think, “Why would you ever want to live anywhere else?” But after living there for 16 years, we knew exactly what living in New York meant; stress, unnecessary expenses, harsh winters, and poor quality of living overall. Don’t get me wrong, I loved and will always love New York City, but I soon saw the difference between living in the concrete jungle and paradise.
I was always very certain about all the things I wanted to do with my life, or at least I thought so. I wanted to get my first job as soon as I could to save up and help my parents pay for college, which I did two months into my first semester. I originally wanted my track in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to be Journalism, but after some consideration I chose Public Relations thinking that it would be a broader field to later get a larger variety of job opportunities in. This was my very first mistake as a freshman in college. Not only did I think I had everything figured out, and thought I knew exactly what I wanted to study, but I based my career on where I’d make more money in and not what I was truly passionate about.
I chose what I thought was a safe choice, instead of allowing myself to face the challenges that came with being a writer in a world that was constantly evolving. Aspiring to write for a newspaper or magazine was no longer as glamorous as it used to be, before the digital world took over. But I did not realize any of this until the second semester of my junior year, where I believed it was too late to change majors. In my mind, I had everything planned out as I thought it should be and being stubborn as always, I was going to stick to that. I wanted to graduate college on time, and go straight into my masters after graduating. I loved all of my classes relating to PR, but the assignments I had never really excited me, and writing press releases and crisis letters weren’t exactly what I pictured my dream career to consist of.
Considering that PR was something I was not truly passionate about, and I didn’t really have much experience in journalism writing, I had trouble finding internships. I missed out on the opportunity to gain experience in my possible work field, not only because of this, but because the majority of the internships I did find were unpaid. I honestly would not have minded working unpaid if I knew I didn’t have any college expenses to cover, so leaving my job was not much of an option, and I felt stuck.
After graduating, my mindset changed a lot. I decided to take a year off before deciding what I want to complete my masters in. Over the summer, I did hold a temporary internship as a graphic designer. I figured out that as marketing coordinator for my sorority from 2013-2014, graphic design was something I really liked and I even contemplated on completing a masters in it. But, not wanting to jump into the first thing I liked, I decided to keep an open mind and allow myself this year to really think about what I like, what I dislike, and essentially what I see myself doing for the rest of my life.
Today, I am grateful for my father and his vision. I only hope to see things a step ahead like him and be able to choose what’s best like he did for our family (who also now live here in Florida) and me. I still haven’t quite figured out what it is I’m supposed to do, but I learned that life is not meant to be so planned out and never again will I settle for something just because it seems convenient. My dream job consists of helping others, writing, and never needing a vacation; because one should be able to have a job you love without actually having to work a day in your life. The best advice I can give you today is the following…above all else, find your passion and live it.