With twenty percent of Three Rivers students hailing from the Norwich area, some might joke that the College is in their backyard. For Luis Delgado, it’s a literal statement.
“Growing up in Norwich, I could actually see the construction of the new campus from my window. So in a way, Three Rivers has always been in the back of my mind.”
Despite his proximity to campus, Luis didn’t always assume that he’d wind up at Three Rivers. As a student at Norwich Free Academy, he pictured himself moving on to a state university such as UConn. But as graduation grew closer, Luis realized that he’d have to balance his dreams of pursuing higher education with the reality of needing a steady income.
“I knew after graduating from high school that I needed to work in order to pay my expenses,” Luis says. “So whatever I did next with my education, it would have to be flexible enough to allow for that.”
After two years at Three Rivers, Luis has managed to hold a nearly full-time job at a local bank while still pursuing his Associate Degree in Business Administration, even earning a coveted scholarship along the way. By choosing a community college, Luis would argue that he took the smartest, most cost-effective path toward his ultimate goal. After earning his degree at Three Rivers, Luis will transfer to UConn to complete his Bachelor’s, having saved thousands of dollars in tuition.
“College is college,” says Luis. “It’s not about the name. If I take English 101 at Three Rivers, it’s still English 101 when I transfer those credits to UConn. The difference is that I’ve likely paid a third of the price for the same quality of education.”
While Luis speaks highly of Three Rivers, he wasn’t so sure of his choice during his earliest days on campus. Like many new students, he questioned whether he was cut out for the academic rigors and time management that accompany college life. He quickly realized he’d need some extra help. Luckily, help was only a few steps away.
“My professors were really encouraging. Sometimes I’d schedule appointments, but other times I’d just knock on their door and they’d be happy to help. One even loaned me her flash drive to help me with my notes.”
Luis quickly settled into his college rhythm, and over the past two years, he’s found his professors’ willingness to help extends to advisors and tutors, as well. The guidance and dedication of the College’s financial aid staff helped him navigate the tuition process and ultimately secure his scholarship. Additionally, his advisors helped him prepare his transfer to a four-year school, a process that might otherwise seem daunting to a twenty-year-old.
“There’s always someone willing to help,” he says. “When I have a question, there’s always an answer.”
With his time at Three Rivers nearing its end, Luis is already thinking about the next phase of his academic life — and beyond. His ultimate goal after completing his Bachelor’s degree is to pursue a career that allows him to apply the leadership skills he’s developed the past two years.
“When I started here I took a lot of accounting classes, but I ended up moving toward administration because I’ve always wanted to be a leader.”
Working with his classmates, Luis has learned a great deal about helping teams grow and develop, and he’s excited for what the future holds as he completes his Associate’s Degree. His enthusiasm for learning and acquiring new skills is clear, as are his dedication and work ethic. Yet Luis also recognizes the ways in which his professors, whom he sometimes refers to as “mentors,” have helped him maximize his potential. Now he aims to take what he’s learned and start paying it forward.
“When a team excels and I’m leading it, it means I’m drawing out people’s potential. That’s how the world gets better.”
Luis Delgado, Business Administration Student