Photo by Joe A. Mendoza/CSU Photography
Soleil Gonzalez dedicated their time at Colorado State University to self-discovery and to their community.
Gonzalez is a first-generation Latinx student graduating from the Department of Psychology. They were also a member of the ROTC, worked at the Pride Resource Center and the Academic Advancement Center, were a member on the Psychology Department Diversity and Inclusion Team, participated in the CSU Diversity Symposium, and run a Spotify podcast called “The Truths of Life.”
Their commitment to authenticity and helping other people find what makes them feel happy and authentic has been inspirational to the Department of Psychology and to many at CSU.
Q. What experiences in your life or at CSU have required that you demonstrate courage?
The undergraduate experience itself. Becoming a college student has given me a wide range of awareness — including my identity — how I perceive myself, what I find passion in.
I have faced many challenges and barriers that have shaped my experience. Coming in as a first-generation student, I was lost in how to connect and find community. The biggest challenge I overcame was learning to ask for help. Each year, each semester, came with new challenges. That made me refine my skills and characteristics. I learned to adapt to new environments and for that I am grateful.
Q. What was the most rewarding part of your CSU experience?
The connections I have made, the people I have met and most of all, how much I have grown. I have been here for five years, changed my major twice, and made a 365-degree change in career paths. It’s rewarding to know that all the hard work does pay off.
Now, I feel more confident than ever. I have established stability within myself. I found pieces of who I am through my experience at CSU.
“It’s heartwarming to know that I can set my mind to something and can accomplish it. It is rewarding to know that I can help students of all backgrounds to feel their most authentic.”
It’s heartwarming to know that I can set my mind to something and can accomplish it. It is rewarding to know that I can help students of all backgrounds to feel their most authentic.
Q. What is your advice to incoming students?
So many thoughts come to mind but the most important one is to learn to live in the present moment. Enjoy those times when you are laughing with your friends so hard that your stomach hurts. Or realizing that you can make the change you want in your life.
Don’t be so hard on yourself because it’s a given that you will be a different person by the time you graduate. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Remember that you have the power within you to become revolutionary. To find your passion and unconditional love for yourself. Have fun, live in the present moment, and never forget that you are loved and appreciated. You are enough and you matter.