Undergraduate Admissions Counselor Jermaine Hernandez
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
College Major: Chemistry
Territory: Central Texas
Office: Undergraduate Admissions Center
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where I attended Socorro High School (class of 2006) and was also named "Mr. Socorro High School."
Q: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
A: I attended The University of Texas at Austin, where I was a part of the College of Natural Sciences. I originally intended to be a pharmacist but decided in my second year that it was no longer for me. My career path changed but my passion for science remained, which is why I decided to stay as a Chemistry major.
Q: How long have you been working in higher education?
A: My first job out of college was with Advise TX, a program which places recent college graduates in low socioeconomic high schools as college advisers to promote a "college going culture." I was able to return to my old high school and help the students, especially the senior class of 2012, with all of their questions regarding college. This experience completely changed my life and sparked my passion for higher education. As a college adviser, I came across some of the most gifted, talented, intelligent, and amazing students one could imagine. I made life-long bonds with students and was amazed at the support I received from the faculty and staff.
Q: What is your favorite place on campus?
A: The fifth floor of the Student Services Building! This is home to the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center, where I spent my college years as a student assistant. This is one of the hidden gems on campus. You can get help for any problem you may be having, meet amazing people, and take quick naps on the massage chairs and in the Mindbody Lab!
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do in Austin?
A: Eat! Some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life was from Austin. This was one of the reasons why I was on the fast track to the freshman 15. Of course, the music festivals are always fun, along with outdoor activities such as kayaking, bicycling, hiking, etc.
Advice to Prospective Students
- Improve your study habits – As a high school student, school was easy for me, but once I got to UT Austin, I quickly realized that would not be the case. Sit down and study for a couple hours every night and figure out what works best for you: studying with music or in complete silence, how to take notes, etc.
- Learn how to manage your money – If you don't learn how to manage your finances, you'll be eating nothing but noodles the first three months into the semester.
- Live on campus – I made the big mistake of not living on campus my first year, and it was much harder. Living on campus makes it easier to make friends, make it to class on time, and be involved. Not to mention that while walking through campus you'll get handed lots of flyers for organization meetings. If the organization is smart, they will have free food at their meetings.
- Get involved – I found myself homesick quite often during my first year of college. I knew I had to find my “family” away from home. I quickly found it when I joined a fraternity. Even if it's not a Greek organization, take time to join an organization that interests you and meet people. Even better, do something completely different from what you usually do! Challenge yourself and grow. This is the best way to find your support system.
- Remember your priorities – You are here to study and graduate! Do not get lost in all of the side activities. Your school comes before everything else. There will always be another party, but there will not be another chance at exams.