Starting college can be both a nerve-wracking and exciting experience. UNLV senior Joey Cruz first experienced these emotions when he left his hometown in Guam to pursue a communication studies degree in Las Vegas.
But making a huge leap from island life to UNLV, he quickly discovered, was the right choice. UNLV's urban campus helped Joey discover jobs, internships, service opportunities, and more.
When I was researching schools to attend in Las Vegas, I was looking for diversity and UNLV has so much of it! I was also looking for a school that had doctoral programs that I was majoring or minoring in. UNLV was just the "green" symbol for me compared to other universities.
Best part of being in Las Vegas for college?
Attending UNLV has been one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had. There are an abundance of things to do and never-ending activities offered on campus; there's just no room to sit around, and being busy is something I truly enjoy doing. There are also so many opportunities to partake in different cultures.
Get to Know Joey!
Best place to study? Lied Library fifth floor
Almost major? Elementary Education
Does pineapple belong on pizza? I’m an Islander, HECK YEAH!
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be? Koala
Where do you go for a bite between classes? SOHO Sushi Burrito or Starbucks grilled cheese
Have you been mentored and/or inspired by a faculty member? Who were they and how did they make an impact?
When I first moved to UNLV, I was majoring in special education but was highly influenced by the Liberal Arts and Urban Affairs colleges. I never would have thought I would change my major but taking some classes in both colleges allowed me to think beyond the elementary, middle, and high school level of teaching. Although I moved from the College of Education, I still have an end goal to be an educator, but at the college level. I want to teach in a subject that would allow me to learn more about other cultures, the people who live within those cultures, and just people in general.
Majoring and minoring in the fields that I am in allows me to do just that. If it wasn't for (professor Barbara) Brents and (Marta) Soligo’s classes in sociology, I would have never considered a minor in the field here atUNLV. If it wasn't for sociology majors/colleagues Amber and Sean at the University of Guam, I would have never grown an interest in taking any SOC classes at all. In regards to my communication studies major, I would have never considered changing majors if it wasn't for professor Hope Ananich from the University of Guam and for my great COM friend and fraternity brother Johansen.
Number one reason a future student should consider UNLV?
I think that students should consider UNLV because of the diversity that the campus has. Not many people realize that sometimes the shape and vibes of your surroundings reflect your character and performance. And I will say that the energy, diversity, and never ending opportunities will allow any student to have something to smile about everyday. Some students may not be looking for a great and open-minded environment; their goal is just to attend class and be self driven to success. That's fine, but I would say that UNLV is still the best choice because there are endless opportunities and resources, and you will ALWAYS be inspired by something here. Whether you are having writer's block on an essay or struggling to figure out a formula in math class, inspiration can be found almost anywhere at UNLV, you just have to take the effort to look.
Advice for fellow Rebels?
UNLV has given me some of the best years of my life. I used to think that high school was something that I would never get over, but now I can't imagine myself forgetting anything I have done since I transferred to UNLV, and the high school memories are somewhat just a good grin now. As a non-local to Las Vegas and as an islander completely out of his norm, I can say that choosing UNLV is a decision that you will never regret.