Stay Determined: The Beauty of Passion Magnolia Cruz

Josh found his passion for cooking when trying to find ways to save money; over time, it became a lot more than that to him. Cooking for others helps him cope with his social anxiety, and be able to truly enjoy time with his loved ones.

Brett has loved video games since his childhood, and they always managed to help him through difficult patches in his life. He wants to become a game designer in order to provide a wonderful, positive experience for other suffering from depression and anxiety.

Andrea became a Landscape Architecture major due to her love for parks (and being what she refers to as "the tallest fifth grader in college"). She wants to design and create parks and other public works projects where people of all backgrounds, especially fellow Latinx people, can come enjoy something special, no matter where they are in the world.

Chris has been cosplaying for nearly a decade, and has loved anime and video games for even longer than that. Cosplay can be tough work from construction to in character performance, but has helped them immensely with their self confidence, and has been the biggest reason they have met the people most important to them in their life.

Grey is currently studying Environmental Science and Policies at The University of South Florida. An avid activist for environmental health, they hope to use their love and knowledge of renewable resources and science in order to push for worldwide environmental protection. They also really love birds and want to see them live for a very long time.

Jackie (left) had always struggled with her depression and social anxiety. Cosplay gave her the opportunity to come out of her shell and meet countless wonderful people in her life, as well as find a craft she truly enjoyed working on to make incredible costumes and props.

Kathy dropped out of college when she realized that school was really not for her and suffered a lot of backlash from her family due to her choice. She was also judged harshly by strangers for being "another uneducated Hispanic". She fought against this hate for years, but was especially able to do when she discovered her love for baking. She began to teach herself the basics several years ago, and now owns her own baking business. Kathy use her passion of baking to show that you don't need a college degree to do something you love.

Paige has always love creating art and cartoons, and always dreamt of being able to create incredible things for people around the world. She hopes that with the knowledge she earns from The School of Visual Arts, she can improve the lives of others around the world, and change the world for the better.

A history dork and incredibly hard worker from a very young age, Jinx wanted nothing more than to share that passion for history with the masses. They love seeing the lightbulb go off in students' heads as they make connections between history and today, and strive to help them grow into citizens who are informed and are thinking critically about today's political, economic and social spheres with regards to historical context. His largest goal is to show that each individual student brings something unique to the table, and help them reach their full potential.

Tatum has loved and cared for animals for as long as they can remember. They want nothing more than to provide animals with love and care, no matter how small the encounter may be.

For me, streaming and writing about video games have given me the opportunity to reach out to others in the LGBT+ and neurodivergent communities, and engage with them in a loving space where they can simply be themselves and enjoy games with others like them.

I want to show that regardless of who someone is or what they may deal with on a daily basis, they and their aspirations are beautiful and important, and deserve to be celebrated.

Stay Determined: The Beauty of Passion

We all have our passions in life, and no matter what one's goal or experiences are, all passions deserve to be appreciated and showcased.

When we hear about passions and goals, the only stories that seem to be shared are of those who already made a huge difference in the world. There are especially fewer stories for those belonging to marginalized groups; such as, but not limited to, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, neurodivergent individuals (those struggling with mental illnesses), and so on. I decided to reach out to a number of my friends and asked them to share their passions, as well as what fuels them to continue seeking it.

Andrea joyfully hopping around some water fountains and spouts at Depot Park (Gainesville, Fla.).

Andrea was constantly mocked for her short stature and thick Colombian accent when she was in school. She eventually grew a thicker skin, and began to describe herself as “the tallest fifth grader in college”. Coming from a lower income immigrant family, she learned to appreciate and truly enjoy the outdoors for being a beautiful and inexpensive way to play and have fun. “The sheer joy and wonder that parks and public art provide to citizens can be indescribable, and adds an incredible amount of beauty and personification to every towns and cities around the world. I want to be able to take my love of the outdoors and create some wicked awesome parks and outdoor establishments for generations to enjoy.”.

Grey, an Environmental Science and Policies student at the University of South Florida, also aspires to change the world with their passion. The picture they provided is of them “doing research on sinkholes and groundwater in Florida, and how this water policy issue impacts people in sinkhole prone areas”. They dream of one day becoming an environmental scientist “in order to help preserve natural resources such as these, and help keep our planet beautiful for generations to come.".

Although Paige may still only be a student, her animation work at The School of Visual Arts has improved dramatically since her early years in art. She hopes to create impactful cartoons that can change the world for the better and improve the lives of people worldwide.

Regardless of where people are in their life, their goals and aspirations deserve to be showcased and shared with the world. Social media has created the ability to do so, particularly for those who may have already achieved their goals, but it’s always important to appreciate those around you who may still be on their way of reaching for the stars and making their dreams come true.

Credits:

Created with images by laterjay - "dream inspire teaching"

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