Freshman Victor Avalos takes every opportunity to enjoy time with people on campus and explore Lexington, but as he finds his place at UK, he still keeps his family in mind.
Avalos, a first-generation student majoring in computer science, grew up in Woodford County, Kentucky, just 20 minutes from Lexington. He lived in a small town with his parents and two younger brothers. He visits them every weekend and enjoys cooking with them, playing with his younger brothers and working with his father.
Looking for a better life for their children, Victor’s parents emigrated from Mexico, hoping to find a new life for their children.
“I see them struggle every day,” Avalos said. “For me, I personally feel like going to college will be an accomplishment because … all their frustrations won’t go in vain.”
Avalos said he wants to be successful, but not just in the sense of having a good job. He also hopes to inspire his family.
“My biggest dream is showing my accomplishments to my parents,” Avalos said. “Make good money, have a good family and just be a good role model for my brothers as well, because I am the oldest child, and I have to show them, ‘hey, I did it; you can do it too.’”
Though some members of his family still live in Mexico, Avalos keeps in touch with them and hopes to make the trip to visit.
Avalos recently got to see two of his grandparents when they visited the U.S., but before that, he had not seen them in four years.
“In four years, a lot of things changed,” Avalos explained. “I grew taller, I got out of high school, I came to college and, believe it or not, I didn’t have all this hair.”
Avalos has still never met many of his relatives, and he has not seen one of his grandmothers since he was four or five.
Though Avalos did not specify any career goals, he currently has a job on campus as a website developer and said he is very thankful for the work environment. On the weekends, he works with his father trimming horse hooves across Kentucky.
“Honestly, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything big in life yet,” Avalos said. “Am I going to graduate successfully? That’s the part I don’t know. I just want to become successful in life, pretty much.”
Avalos also passes the time playing the pianos around UK and listening to music. He prefers to listen to non-lyrical music and simply hear the instruments.
Since coming to UK, Avalos said he has found new opportunities to achieve success and freedom to find his own place in the world.
“There’s more to life. During K Week, I felt so much inner joy,” Avalos said. “I was so happy. I just felt actual joy for once.”