"QuestBridge changed my path because it took the finances out of the equation – I could focus on getting in where I really wanted to go."
Jorian, University of Southern California
Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL
For Jorian Rivera, a life path is far more complex than a simple straight line. When he first began to think about what life after high school might look like, Jorian shared that, “I honestly wasn’t sure what my plan was.” While he considered attending local colleges in his home state of Florida or the possibility of receiving aid from a private university, neither felt like the right fit. “I really wanted to move out of state for college, but the price tag made it scary,” Jorian explained.
Doubt turned to optimism just before Jorian’s senior year of high school: “I learned about QuestBridge in an email sent to me on August 2, 2017. ... I was invited to apply for the Match.” Because Jorian had toured USC just one day before receiving this message, the opportunity felt meant to be.
Driven by a commitment to his family, Jorian aimed to create a new path for the most important people in his life. “I wanted to position myself in the best way to help my family and others later,” Jorian shared. “Thinking back, it was both heartwarming and heartbreaking to see how much my parents sacrificed for their children. They did a great job despite many hurdles, so I hope to help repay my parents and family for all they’ve done for me.”
As he worked on his National College Match application, Jorian was fortunate to have the support of not only high school teachers, but also that of a mentor working in the higher education field. “He was incredibly helpful in editing my personal statements, reminding me of deadlines, and providing great moral support,” Jorian said.
When Match Day arrived, Jorian shared that he was “ecstatic” to learn that he had been matched to USC: “QuestBridge changed my path because it took the finances out of the equation – I could focus on getting in where I really wanted to go. … USC was the school I wanted to attend the most. It was a dream of mine to move out to the west coast for college, and it was so exciting that I had made it happen!”
Realizing his dream, Jorian moved to California to begin college at USC. In addition to exploring different options for his major, once on campus, Jorian joined a number of groups on campus, including the Latino Business Student Association, Trojan Investing Society, Club Beach Volleyball, and Men’s Indoor Club Volleyball.
Although he described his first few months as “overwhelming,” Jorian explained that, “Being able to grow as a person who understands how to better manage their responsibilities has prepared me much more for the real world. I also learned how to interact with people outside of socioeconomic status. I used to get so caught up about being the low-income friend or person in a group of people, but college really taught me I am so much more than just where I come from or what I look like.”
While Jorian entered college planning to study medicine, he shared that he changed his major 12 times along the way, finally finding his niche in Accounting. “The most important lessons I’ve learned throughout college is to go into everything with a completely open mind and to be okay with deviating from the path we created for ourselves in our heads,” Jorian said. “We have all these ideas of what we think we’re interested in, what we want to do, and where we want to be. But we can’t predict life and its outcomes.”
Jorian shared that one of his favorite college memories took place just after switching to the Business School: “I had just declared my interest in business, changing from Biology. I was learning an entirely different field of work, and at the same time was applying to internships and diversity events for the largest banks on Wall Street,” Jorian shared. “I remember vividly getting opportunities to go to New York City on four separate occasions during the semester for these events. These were so exciting because I was able to meet other strong, underrepresented students around the country, and learn more about opportunities I didn’t even know existed that fit my interests.”
In exploring his options and trying new things, Jorian reframed his goals and saw new possibilities. “College helped shape my career goals by showing me a path I never thought was possible for me. I would have never thought business would be a field of work I would be in since I was never exposed to it prior to college,” said Jorian.
While Jorian grew confident in his career aspirations, his last year of college took an unexpected turn due to the pandemic. USC transitioned to remote learning and Jorian worried about finding work in such tumultuous times. “Given the shortage of jobs available, I was nervous I would not be able to find a job for my skills,” Jorian admitted.
Nevertheless, after stumbling upon a Management Consulting Associate job posting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jorian decided to take a chance and was ultimately offered the position. “Management consulting helps companies align their business strategy, create new opportunities for growth, and improve their performance,” Jorian explained. “I work in the technology, media, and telecommunications sector, so I hope to work with some of the biggest players in both Hollywood and Silicon Valley.”
Offering advice to future students who may one day be in his shoes, Jorian shares that, “The path we create for ourselves may seem so hard to deviate from, but that’s ok. I deviated from my path several times when I changed my major 12 times. But I’ve learned to be ok with the process of finding my new path. Each twist and turn of the path brings developmental experiences and lessons. And when you find your path, you come out with a larger lens of perspective and personal growth.”