College has the potential to transform someone’s life—just ask UW Tacoma senior Beck Adelante.
Adelante, who prefers non-gendered pronouns, grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and got used to sunshine and dry weather, but moved to Vermont for their mother’s work. After a few years on the East Coast, the two of them decided to head west. “We came out here and looked around and were just like, ‘yeah, we should move out here’,” Adelante said.
Before moving to the land of gray skies and near constant rain, Adelante tried their hand at higher education. Adelante’s first brush with university didn’t work out the way they expected. “My initial experience at a college totally shook my confidence,” Adelante said. “I failed a class for the first time in my life. It was not a good situation overall, so when we moved here I took a semester off.”
Still, Adelante knew they wanted to get an education. They came to UW Tacoma in the spring of 2016, taking just a few classes to make sure they found the right fit. “It was just like dipping my toe in, but everyone was so welcoming,” Adelante said. “I thought I knew what I wanted in a school before coming to UW Tacoma, but I didn’t. It's been like the best thing ever.”
It’s not hard to see Adelante as an arts, media and culture major on the literature track. Not only do they work as the non-fiction editor at Tahoma West, they were known as “the walking dictionary” in first grade. “I have always really liked literature and reading and writing,” Adelante said. “I like talking about it and I feel like it's a fun and accessible way to talk about a lot of different subjects.”
One of Adelante’s favorite experiences as a student at UW Tacoma was working in the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) as a writing consultant. “I learned so much at the writing center,” they said. After graduation, Adelante will stay in their position at the writing center for a year. In the future, Adelante wants to use their education to create the same kind of learning space that taught them how to be brave. “I actually want to be a literature professor,” Adelante said. “My experiences here at UW Tacoma helped me develop interpersonal skills, which is good for teaching in the future.”
Another memory Adelante will have once they graduate is being a member of the 2018 Husky 100. In their application, something Adelante reflected on was their struggle with identity as a mixed-raced person and being a part of UW Tacoma theatrical productions. “In Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue I was this horrible sportscaster on the radio trying to get a sob story,” Adelante said. “It was funny because even in that cast of Latin-mixed individuals, I was portraying the white character while also helping my cast mates pronounce Spanish words.”
Even if Adelante struggled their first few years in higher education, they’ve since found their way. On June 11, they will become the first in their family to graduate from college. “My first experience in college made me feel like it wasn’t for me,” Adelante said. “It was nice to be able to come here and be like, ‘Oh, this is what I expected from college,’ and it's challenging and educational, but it’s not scary.”
Everyone is afraid of something, but fear shouldn’t direct one’s future. Take it from Beck Adelante. “I used to be scared to try new things and talk to people, especially because of my past experiences in college,” Adelante said. “Now, I’m not afraid to ask questions or get involved. I trust people way more.”
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org