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"Eyes forward. Mind focused. Heart ready. Game on, world."| A UPenn Student's Advice on College Life

We had the privilege of interviewing Juan Ramirez,

  • a student at Wharton School of Business of UPENN, Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • the founder and CEO of Pagame, a financial inclusion organization

We asked for some experience about: College Life

Here are some valuable words he shares:

  • "It's just being time efficient, not wasting anything. Just not doing that chill time."

  • "It's a reward, but it's also a consequence of what you do in high school."

  • "I think the first the first thing is having that overview goal of how you want to be living in the future and long term."

Q: What's one difference that you see between high school courses and college courses?

A: The major difference is that the professors in university really know the field and have experience in it, so they give you a niche experience of it and have niche advice, and not theory, but I think that they can talk from personal experience, which really makes a difference. You can see why this is very useful and can apply to real life situations. Whereas in high school, there's a limited amount of places where you could do that and that's a major difference.

Q: What would you say was the hardest adjustment you made going into college? (course load, self control, finance, etc)

A: Just getting used to knowing you have to study much more. You have to go much more time in that, much faster, much harder and smarter.

Q: Would you agree that college is a reward for high school?

A: I would agree, but I think it really depends on what college you go to. It's a reward to high school if you do well in high school and go to a college that you choose, and you can really have a good time...I think it's been amazing here at UPenn. I had an awesome time in high school as well. I think that college is an exchange for more independence and do whatever you want. But especially if you're in a college you would like and feel comfortable in. But again, if you don't do well in high school and college, it's not that good. You won't really enjoy it. It's a reward, but it's also a consequence of what you do in high school.

Q: What do you think your priorities were in college then?

A: I think they're the same [as high school]. I always have my friends and family as my number one priority because it’s going to make me happy. Having those relationships, family relationships, is for me, what's more important in life. And then after that, after my family and friends, still come my health. I’m always trying to be healthier, sleep well, eat well, and doing exercise. And that allowed me to do well in school. And I guess now with my business, which I co-founded with my other partners, I guess, even a little bit on top of school, I have that as a little bit of a bigger priority than university.

Q: It seems like you have a lot of very important priorities. How would you say that you are able to meet all the needs of all of them and distribute your time?

A: I have everything very structured in my calendar and and I'm very time efficient. I always try to make use of time. The notion of not doing anything and just chilling--I don't like it. I normally don't have any chill time because, first of all, I don't personally enjoy it that much. And I just use it to take advantage of time and do other stuff like working on classes, working on my business, or maybe connecting to a friend or family member on top of that as well and maintaining a relationship with them. And I try to have that schedule very distributed each day. So I have my time that I devote to my business at a certain hour, a class at a certain hour, the time that I do homework at a certain hour, and between whenever I'm walking to places I try to call my parents and stuff to connect with. It's just being time efficient, not wasting anything. Just not doing that chill time. And really looking at time as valuable and thinking that valuable.

Q: How do you give yourself rest?

A: For me, as I said, sleeping is really important. I'm not the type of guy, or the type of people that say I sleep at two in the morning, wake up at seven. I think that's dumb. I have a minimum of eight hours of sleep every day. And I think that helps me be rested for the rest of the day.

Q: What differences do you find in undergraduate school and business?

A: I would say from experience here that I've been in a business school and have seen my peers and sometimes I've gained a little bit of classes in undergrad college classes. I would say that college is more theoretical. It's not going to give you that hands on technical skills that you're going to need, maybe it’ll give you an overview. But where business school is more directly to the point. “This is what you need, this is what's important” kind of idea. I feel the other part is a little bit useless, but I feel Business School is to the point for what's important.

Q: In college or in high school or at any time in your life, did you ever have a mentor or role model that you looked up to and help you adjust to everything, all the changes?

A: I've had several. Well, my dad, I would say, is the most important one. I've always admired him a lot. He's been very, very successful in doing what he does. Having his family first, and he really putting us in front of everything. I think he's been a big role model for me because he not only has been able to raise an incredible family and unite everyone, but at the same time professionally has also been able to advance. For me, that's someone I really admire in his priorities, and I think that was a good role model.

And I would say in college I had many mentors. So one of the things that I love about this case, especially within the large Latino community, is that the people that are older, the juniors and seniors, really feel that it's in their responsibilities to help the freshmen and sophomore Latinos out. So when I arrived here, they told me everything from where do I have to go, what the social scene is...they got me into the parties, which sometimes for guys, especially going to college, it's hard. For us, it was easy because they would always get us in and help us out professionally, such as how to prepare for interviews. They would help us do a resume and host a hands-on meet with people to help us do our resume. They would tell us about each industry and what the projected business opportunities were. They will connect you to the people that you need to be connected and in your specific field of interest.

So I guess those were a lot of the people who helped me out. And I'm trying to do the same to the incoming freshmen and sophomores as I try to do the same and make sure that they feel comfortable and that they're able to meet their goals professionally and socially. I think that's something that's really unique about UPenn. This is more to the Latino community. I don't know how that's with other other communities, but I feel that something has definitely helped me out here.


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