Ronell Esquivel is an MCB major that is also pursuing a Spanish and Chemistry minor. When he started at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign he was a biochemistry student. During sophomore year, Ronell took MCB 250: Molecular Genetics and became interested in MCB. He admits that he wasn’t sure how to efficiently study for MCB courses but once he attended a workshop offered by the College of LAS on how to study for STEM courses, he was able to be successful in his MCB classes. Once he moved to the next MCB course, MCB 252: Cells, Tissues & Development, he had a better idea on how to approach the course and loved learning about all the signaling pathways. He said: “I looked at the potential MCB advanced courses I could take and got excited. I realized that the courses I was taking were laying a strong foundation for those interesting MCB advanced courses that I will take later”.
After graduating, Ronell is planning to apply to medical school and eventually become a pediatrician. He volunteers and is a student leader at Carle Hospital in the Caring Place, which is a classroom based volunteering program where he gets to interact with children of all ages. This experience has helped develop his interest in pediatrics. He says: “I found something that interested me and ran with it. I think that is a very important thing for anyone, especially freshmen. Find something that you are interested in, pursue it and see where it takes you”. In addition to his volunteering experience, Ronell is also part of the Philippine Student Association on campus. He mentioned: “I found some of my best friends in there. I speak Tagalog, which is the Philippine language, and I didn’t get much exposure to it, other than in my household. Once I joined the Philippine Student Association, I was surrounded by people that had things in common with me while having different backgrounds. I was able to share my experiences and relate to other people. I learned a lot about my language too because I started speaking more of it. I found this organization while attending quad day and it has been a great experience”.
Ronell is no doubt a busy student, which is why he knows how to manage his time well. He has a calendar that he updates every week and he also sets reminders for any deadlines, exams or meetings he has coming up. He shared: “After first semester of freshman year, that’s when my wake-up call was. That’s when I learned how to manage my time wisely to maximize productivity. I even use minutes between classes to plan my schedule and catch up”.
Ronell has great advice for any incoming student or current students: “You shouldn’t compare yourself to everyone else. Focus on you and your journey. There are thousands of students on campus, you don’t need to put yourself in a frame, everyone’s experiences are different, everyone is taking different classes even if they are in the same major, they might have research or work. Distinguish yourself, you can do this, you are hear for a reason, there’s no need to compare yourself to other people. Utilize your resources, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Freshman year I had the mentality that I could do things on my own but you have to realize that you are paying for all these resources on campus and you should use them. Be aware of what is available for you. Step back, breathe, enjoy the moment. You don’t realize that all the things you do freshman year will affect what you do later. Take advantage of every new opportunity, appreciate the people you meet, go to office hours and get to know your professors. Be ambitious and unapologetically yourself”.