TSC student finds strength to achieve success, pursue dreams

First-generation college student Yavda Hernandez has proven she can overcome the obstacles that come her way, finding success academically and as a student leader at Texas Southmost College.

The 19-year-old is a general studies student at TSC and is expected to earn an associate degree this summer, even though only a few years ago an anxiety disorder wouldn’t allow her to step foot in a high school classroom.

“I missed about five to six months of my high school career,” she said. “The thought of leaving my room, much less my house, would leave me panic-stricken. I couldn’t go anywhere.”

Bound to her room, while getting help through counseling, the Brownsville native found cartoons and music to be comforting. She began to realize that she wanted to be an animation designer and musician when she grew up.

“Finding my passion and dabbling in design is what gave me purpose and is what motivated me to go back to school,” she said. “I pushed myself to leave the house, to get better, so that I could follow my dreams. I was too young to give up.”

Already ahead of most of her classmates in 10th grade, Hernandez had no problem making up what she missed and graduated high school with the rest of her class.

“I wouldn’t wish this kind of anxiety on anybody, but somehow for me it also turned into a blessing in disguise,” said Hernandez. “I found my strength, learned a lot about myself and it gave me something to be hopeful for.”

Not quite ready to venture away from her family, Hernandez found TSC, the place that solidified her career plans, while staying close to home.

“TSC has always been highly promoted and recommended,” she said. “I visited the campus and immediately got a positive vibe. TSC was a great choice, I love it.”

Hernandez said being given the opportunity to work on campus as a work-study in TSC’s Student Life office has opened doors to many new experiences.

As a work-study, Hernandez has the responsibility of practicing her design skills by creating flyers and videos for the department’s social media pages.

She has also found her confidence and courage to join on-campus organizations and serve as a student advocate as the Student Government’s Association’s historian, president of the Theater Club and an active member of the Campus Activity Board.

“There is always something to learn at TSC,” said Hernandez. “I’ve learned valuable skills that I will always carry with me, no matter where I go next.”

Hernandez added that TSC has changed her life by giving her confidence in herself and her skills.

“I get to do things I never thought I would or could do,” she said. “I’ve become a leader, I’m able to help others become leaders too and make a difference in their lives. This is what I’m meant to do.”

In fact, Hernandez also formed a jazz band with several other TSC and local four-year university students where she is the lead singer. She said once it’s safe again, they plan on performing for school and community events.

For her last two semesters at TSC, Hernandez plans on working hard to teach others what she knows and help support and encourage others who also suffer from anxiety.

“I have found my second family, second home, here at TSC,” she said. “I want to help others find their family here too and leave a mark.”

After graduating, Hernandez plans on transferring to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in design and animation, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Pixar animator, or even a creator of her own children’s show.

“TSC was my first step and I’m getting to my goal little by little,” she said. “I know I’ll have more ups and downs, but I refuse to give up.”