Jesus Gonzalez ’25 | Minneapolis
Major: Finance

Please tell us about yourself.

When people ask me, “What’s your elevator pitch?” I’m not sure what to say. I think a lot — about my place in my family, community, and the world. However, you’ll rarely find me resting unless it’s an intentional break. There are a lot of things that need to be done and that’s where you’ll find me. Growing up, I didn’t have much except for my family and the people who cared about me. Someone was always there to help. I think that’s the type of person I aim to be, someone driven to bettering my life and those around me.

How did you hear about Concordia College? Why did you choose Concordia?

I became interested in Concordia when my high school Spanish teacher, Mr. Lazo, told me about a program called Act Six. He said, “Jesus, I think this is something that would interest you. You’ve got what it takes to get in, and it could be a full ride. Apply and I’ll write you a letter of recommendation.” I submitted my application to Concordia College, the farthest college on my list. After several steps and months in the application process, I was called and told that I had been accepted. But before I said “yes,” I just had to see it for myself.

Thanks to Concordia covering a night’s hotel stay, I booked a nearby hotel, bought a bus ticket, and arrived in early spring. The first day in Fargo-Moorhead was a sunny afternoon filled with stops in different parts of town, and the second day was filled with exploring Concordia College. Every person I met shared something unique, but it was the time spent with the Act Six cohort that felt truly special. Their excitement to meet me, show me around, and welcoming energy spoke to me. On the bus journey back, I realized this was where I needed to go, where my life was destined to change.

What surprised you most about the Fargo-Moorhead community? What do you appreciate most about living in the F-M area?

At first, the Fargo-Moorhead community seemed very quiet and, I hate to say, boring. Then I was surprised when I began getting involved and saw everything going on. It made me realize that this community has so much potential, and it seems that in every corner someone or some group is working on something special. The most surprising part is just how much this community is connected. Someone out there can connect you to other people, which leads to meeting more special people or doing special things. I appreciate all the people you can meet in Fargo-Moorhead.

What campus activities are you involved in?

Right now, I’m a member of the Student Government Association, the Latinx Organization for Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, and the Career Readiness Board. If I’m not directly leading an initiative or one of the groups, I’m doing the marketing for them.

Why did you decide to run for president of the Student Government Association (SGA)?

I began my leadership journey at Concordia with two goals in mind. To make as many opportunities for my peers as I could and to make more space for community. With these guiding goals in mind and after talking with close friends, when the opportunity of running for president of SGA came to me, I said yes to it. Throughout the campaigning process, I received support and encouragement from friends and mentors who reassured me that I needed to be in that role.

What has been the biggest challenge as student body president and how did you overcome that?

During my first semester as student body president, the biggest challenge was defining my role on campus as well as in the Student Government Association. I began thinking that it was as simple as pointing in one direction and that’s where we were heading. However, I’ve come to realize the work required to guide a group toward achieving its goals, establish a culture, and uphold its values. This didn’t happen alone. Throughout the semester, I leaned on the support of fellow members, friends, staff, faculty, and mentors who all played an important role in guiding me. With their help, I’ve been able to maintain my well-being, learn new leadership approaches, define my role on campus, and get closer to the initial goals I set out to achieve.

What are you most excited about for the remainder of your term?

It’s the simplest things like making time to set up a table in the atrium and listening to my peers that I look forward to this year. I’m also excited about pushing for more changes to how SGA works and the way we advocate for change on campus. Most exciting is seeing the outcomes of all the projects that other SGA members have been working on this year.

With all of the opportunities available at Concordia, it can be easy for students to overextend themselves. What is your advice for balancing extracurriculars with academics and still maintaining your physical and mental health?

I see myself as a resilient and persistent person, but there are times when I feel lost, worried, or stressed. In those moments, my coping strategy involves two steps: I turn to prayer and then I talk to my close friends, asking them either to listen or to offer a different perspective. Doing these two things has brought a sense of calmness to my life, helping me find advice and comfort. However, I have experienced many mistakes, sleepless nights, headaches, conversations, and learning to get to this point. In both my academic and leadership journey, I’ve learned the importance of extending grace to myself and acknowledging that mistakes are part of the process. Admitting you made a mistake, accepting it, and learning from it might be the biggest challenge. Self-compassion is essential as the journey to personal growth often involves making mistakes before finding the right path.

How did you decide on your major?

Heading into college, I wanted to major in something that I was interested in. I thought about what I was most curious about and decided on the idea that I wanted to learn how money works. I then looked over Concordia’s majors and landed on finance.

Do you have a favorite finance course? If so, why?

Principles of Global Economics with Gladys Antonio has been my favorite finance course so far. I know it’s supposed to be a basic business course, but it inspired my curiosity about other countries and how their economies are doing. To this day, I’m still reading articles from the sources we used in class, and I look at global affairs from a much broader perspective than I used to.

What is the best part about taking classes in the Offutt School of Business?

The best part about taking classes in the Offutt School of Business is that I immediately go from the classroom to a professor’s office. Whether it’s to stop by to say hello or to ask for help, I can always find one of our professors there.

While pursuing a higher education, this place and its people have taught me the importance of values, faith, and doing work worth doing.

What are your career goals and how has Concordia prepared you for life after college?

Before coming to Concordia, I was driven by a salary and the lofty title of a future job. But after everything I’ve experienced because of coming to Concordia, I’m driven toward a career where I’m doing something I love. While pursuing a higher education, this place and its people have taught me the importance of values, faith, and doing work worth doing. I look at my future with these three questions: Where can I make the most positive impact, buy my mom a house, and give my grandma a very beautiful garden?

What do you value most about being a Cobber?

Speaking as a Cobber, I value the people here. I haven’t visited a campus yet where I found so many caring and talented people. Not that there aren’t other caring people in the world, it’s just that there’s something special about the ones here. I’ve met people here who have changed my life. I think that’s in part what being a Cobber is all about, making bonds that last and changing people’s lives.

What’s one thing you never imagined you would do before coming to Concordia?

Oh, the list is long for things I never imagined doing before coming to Concordia. To list a few, I never imagined hosting a festival, coordinating a conference for Latinos, being in leadership, going to conferences, working with experienced and talented people, and so much more. Most importantly, I never imagined leaving Minneapolis for a chance at higher education.

What advice would you give to a high school student who is considering Concordia?

Come, visit, and take a look for yourself. Explore the area, talk to people, and get a feel for the place. That’s what I did, and it completely changed my life. I think it is here on campus that you can truly get the feeling of why this place is for you.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Cobber experience?

Yes. Despite being in different leadership roles and appearing like I have everything under control, I do not. I have hard days, and I have my own set of challenges. This is true for all people. However, being a Cobber has taught me to face challenges and failure head-on while leaning on those I love and trust. It has taught me the power of faith and that I’m never alone. I hold these lessons close to me and I hope that other fellow Cobbers discover their close lessons here too.

Watch a video of Jesus’ Cobber experience

Published April 2023