The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

After Graduation, Where Will You Lead?

Jose Esquivel 17 looks forward to being an educated. Contributed photo.

“You’ve always been interested in pursuing an MBA. Isn’t teaching high school math going to get you off track?”


When I have told people that I am planning on joining Teach For America to teach high school math in Los Angeles next year, I have received many positive reactions. My high school teachers and college advisors are all very excited that I will be returning to my community to give back. My parents are beyond excited to have me back in LA after four years far from home. But, admittedly, they are also a bit confused because I never declared an education major or intended to become a teacher.


I have grappled with how to best respond to these questions. Do I tell them that leading a classroom is the most challenging profession I could have chosen for next year? Do I tell them I cannot wait to be a role model for young men and women growing up in communities like mine? Do I tell them I don’t really know how business and teaching come together, but that I am certain that I need to give back to the community that gave so much to me?


When it comes down to it, it’s all of those aforementioned reasons, plus one more. I believe that the classroom is a powerful place for social change, where all my identities and experiences can come together to help pave a different path for my future students. When I think about the issues that I am most passionate about — immigration, educational inequity, first-generation college students, income distribution, and Latinx cultural expectations — I’ve come to realize that there is no other place to tackle them head-on than in the classroom.

Jose Esquivel 17 looks forward to being an educated. Contributed photo.


As an Economics and Spanish double major, I have narrowed my studies to public education funding and the effects on low-income communities. Nothing gets me angrier than seeing the marginalization or intimidation of our country’s poor class. I thought a lot about how I could influence these issues after graduation, and came to realize that I needed to learn more about education management and policy. For this reason, committing to TFA made sense. Through teaching, I will be able to gain invaluable experience in our education system from the perspective of a teacher and a school leader. Furthermore, I will have the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in Urban Education during my two-year commitment to further expand my knowledge on education and better prepare myself for an MBA program that may potentially drive me to a career in education management.


I know I’ll face incredible obstacles as I tackle these complex and systemic challenges. But, I also know that my skills will grow to thrive in different settings and gain a strong network of innovators to lean on. But what’s more, I’ll continue to shape my values and beliefs, find my voice as a leader, and more clearly define the impact I want to make on the world.


I’ve worn many hats during my time as a student— Treasurer of Student Organization of Latinx (SOL), Workshop Facilitator for Crecemos Unidos (CU) and Teach For America Campus Ambassador—and all of these experiences have helped to define who I am, my values, and what I’m most passionate about. But, through these different experiences, I’ve found a common thread: we must be the change we seek in this world.


Whether it is education, law, technology, politics, or any other career path, it is important to discover what drives you. With the looming question about what to do after graduation, and the pesky questions from friends and family, I challenge you to find a platform. Let that guide you to create real change in whatever it is you are meant to do.


So as you consider which path you’ll forge after graduation, I encourage you to listen to the voice that tells you to do what’s a little unexpected. Listen to the experiences that have defined your college career thus far. Step out of your comfort zone. I hope you’ll find that your path is richer for it.


-Jose Esquivel ‘17

Economics | Spanish

Teach For America 

Campus Campaign Coordinator

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *