Osiel Noyola

Osiel Noyola

Name: Osiel Noyola
Age: 23
Major: Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
College: College of Education & P-16 Integration
Hometown: Pharr, Texas
High School: PSJA Memorial Early College High School, Alamo Texas

When I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Kinesiology from UTRGV, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. However, I was not sure what degree to pursue. After having a good talk with my parents, they encouraged me that I would be a great counselor. When I looked into the counseling program at UTRGV, I noticed that they were an accredited program. In addition, UTRGV is so close to home, so I would be able to hold a full-time job and still attend class daily. Yes, COVID-19 has transitioned us to attend online, but the closeness of UTRGV played a big role in why I chose to attend graduate school here.

What made you decide on your current major?
Choosing mental health counseling was not something that happened right after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I was undecided until my mom and dad sat down with me and told me to look at what I had done while growing up. I love to help people in any way that I can; whether it was getting someone a soda at a party or helping someone move to another house, I wanted to be there for them. It was not until high school that my friends would confide in me with issues that they faced in everyday life and eventually adults started to confide in me too. My parents saw all of this, and they knew that I was special in some way. I can only hope to live up to the expectations that they have for me.

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many things in our lives and we have no choice but to adapt to a new normal. Personally, I do not like online classes. I sometimes find myself struggling to keep up with the class. Even before the pandemic, I never favored online courses. I feel that there are certain advantages to having class in person such as learning from other students’ opinions or experiences and COVID-19 takes away those advantages by forcing schools to go online. 

What are your greatest strengths and what are some challenges? 
Due to COVID-19, I think my greatest strength is my understanding of technology. I know that I am privileged to have learned how to navigate through the ongoing changes of technology. There are some people that are not so fluent with today’s technology and have struggled with the transition to working online or attending school online. One of my challenges that I am working on is time management. Having a full-time job and being a full-time graduate student can become quite overwhelming at times, but I know that with great time management skills both of them can be done.

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
Something that I hope to achieve after graduating with my master’s degree would be to open up my own mental health therapy practice here in the Valley. Mental health has a negative connotation in our culture which leads me to believe that we need it the most. I would love to help people in my community to become the best they can be to achieve their goals without anything holding them back. 

What do you like most about UTRGV?
My favorite thing about the UTRGV campus is the P-16 Outreach office. I had the privilege of working there for two and a half years. When I started at the P-16 office, I did not know the impact that they were going to have on me. From starting as a residential assistant for the summer camps that the office holds to becoming a part time program coordinator, I realized that working with kids is something I would like to do in my future. I will be forever grateful to the P-16 office and especially Mrs. Lory that gave me the opportunity to become a part-time program coordinator.
What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
UTRGV reminds me of home. Being proud of where you come from is something that I feel is very important in life. UTRGV represents the Valley on a bigger scale and I am proud to call myself a Vaquero because it is just as good as any other university. Also, the atmosphere that UTRGV has reminds me of a family - everyone is willing to help everyone.

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
Being able to work at the P-16 Outreach office at UTRGV opened so many doors for my career. Going into interviews with experience working with students helped me in being able to work at the PSJA School district. Also, I have had the opportunity to make so many friends working at the P-16 office. Now, I have a network of people that work in many different areas.

What advice do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has taken so many normals from our lives we must learn how to take control of what we can. To every student that is attending UTRGV through these tough times, remember that YOU are in control of your education. Set your goals and focus on achieving them.