May 11, 2014
My name is Adrian Hernandez. I am currently 18 years old and soon to be attending USC for a major in Film and Television Production. I am confident that MAPS made the latter possible, and can make such achievements possible for others my age.
MAPS 4 College initially appealed to me because of the free ACT prep it offered. Such open assistance for such an important test seemed insane to me, and I immediately sought a membership application.
As I stayed in the program, I found that it offered more than it advertised. My peers and I began setting aside our ACT prep books and discussing various topics of interest. Politics, religion, society, and even the qualities of a lasting existence were brought up in civilized, round-table discussions. I’d often heard from relatives that such conversations existed on higher-education campuses, but never did I think I’d find them so close to home.
I soon began to love the intelligence and insight my fellow MAPS peers offered me. Under the discussion direction of Sarai Koo, we explored and mobilized ourselves into making positive change in our community. We saw the inequities society shackled us with due to our geographic location and upbringing, and decided to organize several college fairs and information sessions in the area to generate interest in higher education.
I also found in MAPS the social and life skills needed to pursue my educational and career goals. Before MAPS, I was timid: Rarely opening up about myself and often using harsh cynicism to cover up my insecurities. After MAPS gave me a chance to open up to other people–to understand, empathize, and even become companions with my fellow man–I found in myself a newfound desire to do good upon others. I knew that I loved entertainment, and wanted to touch people’s lives through laughter and thought. After learning to love others for who they were, I knew that it was my duty to go out and brighten the doldrums of their daily lives with stories and joy and humor. I became president and Director of the Sierra Vista Drama Club to achieve this goal, and directed a total of 6 plays in my time, each requiring me to associate with a large amount of people in new and interesting ways. I can personally say that I delighted the lives of several hundreds of audience members in my time and I have MAPS to thank for this.
MAPS is more than just a college or ACT prep course: It’s a class in life itself. The skills and individuals I met will stay with me always. Always.
MAPS taught me more than how to be a good studier or test-taker: It taught me how to be a proper, motivated, and curious human being.