“I was the only person I knew at my college”
Jorge Hanschu was a valedictorian of Hillsboro High School’s class of 2019.
Today he’s a recent graduate of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, with a bachelor’s in outdoor recreation in parks and tourism.
That’s not what he pictured himself doing when he was in high school. At that time, he thought he would become a veterinarian or an engineer.
It’s also not a degree program to be found just anywhere, so he moved 1,100 miles from home to go to school.
He knew no one in Cedar City, Utah. Learning to get along without family and friends close at hand was a challenge.
“I was the only person I knew at my college,” he said.
He had to learn to be independent in a hurry.
He would advise this year’s graduates to be willing to change their plans.
“I’d say be open to challenge your previous thoughts and the expectations you had for yourself,” he said.
Now that he’s completed his degree, he lives in Manhattan and works for the recreation department there.
His fiancé, Maddy Daniels, is still working to complete her communications degree at Kansas State University.
“We’re making this our home base for now, and when she graduates, we’ll go from there,” he said.
Although he doesn’t recommend any particular extracurricular activities, he does encourage this year’s graduates to get involved in something.
“When I was at university, I worked for the university and got involved in their intramurals program,” he said. “Get involved. Try different things. I think try a lot of things, whether it’s a rec board or an intramurals board or whatever. There’s no contract on those things. You can get on and get off.”
He might eventually return to Marion County.
“It was a good place to grow up,” he said. “It’s a safe place to grow up. There are good people — a lot of people in your corner, I’d say. Maybe someday, when I’ve had my fill of adventure and travel, I’ll settle back there and raise a family.”
His high school grades and ACT score meant he got many scholarships for college.
“I got pretty much a full ride,” he said. “I still worked about 20 hours a week to pay for rent and groceries.”
He lived in a dormitory his freshman year, then moved to an apartment.
“Hopefully you worked hard enough to get good scholarships and pay for your education,” he said. “If working 40 hours a week pays for your education, that’s good, but if you have no social life, I don’t see how it is worth it.”
Last modified May 25, 2023