Alexis Medina, '19

Alexis Medina sits on the Kinerk Commons ledge

Junior Alexis Medina had always planned to be a first-generation college student. Although he knew that, as a Hispanic male, statistics were not on his side, he knew that this would drive him to work harder to overcome those odds.

“I know in middle school and high school it was maybe more of an unreachable goal because statistics for Hispanic males graduating high school, or even going to college, aren’t that good,” Medina said.

Medina’s parents set an example for him to keep working hard to achieve this goal.

“Looking at everything they’ve gone through to give me this opportunity to go to college, it was kind of a must-do,” Medina said. “No matter what, I had to do it.”

In addition to his parents and family, he also received encouragement and support from his teachers at Cristo Rey High School in Kansas City.

“I did have a lot of good teachers as well in high school who were like, ‘You know, you have what it takes to break that stigma behind Hispanic males.’ Really trying to be one of the few trying to get into college was for sure the driving force for me,” Medina said.

He didn’t receive as much encouragement from classmates, but Medina said he made sure that this peer pressure wouldn’t weigh on him and his goals.

“There were some friends that shared some of the same ideas, but in my school there were quite a few students who didn’t really focus a whole lot on school,” he said. “I really just didn’t want to ruin my chances to go to college, I just kind of hung out with the students that also wanted to go to college.”

Medina originally was looking into out-of-state colleges, but landed on Rockhurst before even visiting campus.

“The colleges that I really wanted to go to were out of state, but because of the financial part, I couldn’t go. Plus, I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet, so I felt like staying in the city probably would have been more beneficial,” Medina said. “The biggest reason at first for choosing Rockhurst was the scholarship and financial aid, but after coming to campus I’ve just loved the school. It provided me with so many different opportunities and especially the staff and teachers are very encouraging. If I wouldn’t have gone here, I don’t know if I’d be where I am now as a junior at Rockhurst.”

The encouragement from family continued after he decided he would be attending Rockhurst. Medina’s parents would help with what they could, but their subtle encouragement was what kept him on track for his goals.

“They always say, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing.’ That’s really what kept me going,” he said.

Medina, a sports management and Spanish major, hopes to use what he’s learned during his time at Rockhurst for good.

“I for sure want to be a soccer coach,” Medina said. “I’ve been looking into a lot of nonprofits and NGOs around the world pretty much that use soccer and social justice. They use soccer as a tool to help educate the youth around the world about health, education, social integration and a lot of different things. That’s definitely something that I would love to do after graduation.”

Through navigating college and figuring out what he wants to do in the future, Medina has learned many things. One of those being to not be afraid to make mistakes.

“Don’t be afraid to mess up. I know that was a big thing for me. Don’t be afraid to step up and do things that you want to do or take classes that you want to take, because it did take me a while and I just wanted to do things a certain way,” Medina said. “Now that I’ve really got loose, so to speak, it is a lot better and a lot easier. It’s doable. For sure, it is doable.”