T. Ty Trujillo, 2002 graduate, U. of Arizona
[The Chronicle of Higher Education, 31 May 2002]
By RICHARD MORGAN
This is another in an occasional series that offers a
slice of campus life based on an interview with a
randomly chosen student. Mr. Trujillo majored in fine
arts, specializing in graphic design.
Q. What was your college experience like?
A. I wanted to get involved in everything, not just go
through it. Being a student doesn't just mean going to
class; it means being active, caring about U. of A.
Q. Did you ever feel as if you had spread yourself too
A. At times. At times I felt -- when I was going to be
a sophomore and I was on the football team and I was
running for student senator and I was pledging my
fraternity -- my academics started hurting. It was
really, really too much. I needed to slow down. But
that was me being young, being a sophomore, getting my
feet wet. When I was a junior, I had two jobs, and I
was running for president, and I was able to handle
it. What happens is, as a freshman, you're figuring
out the whole atmosphere, the new way of doing school
-- large classrooms, just being another student in the
36,000. And the social life -- the social life is a
big part of it.
Q. So when you were frustrated and wanted to take time
off or just drop out, what kept you in school at those
A. [Laughs.] There are so many of those moments. Let
me think. ... What kept me in was seeing my friends
and brother -- you know, I got to see him graduate U.
of A. when I was a freshman -- and that helped me
stick to my guns. I like to think I'm strong-willed. I
can get punched in the face, and I can come back up.
And I think of college -- you might think this is
weird -- but I think of college as a fight. I had to
fight to the end. I got punched and knocked down.
Sometimes I got up. Sometimes I didn't. But it's just
college, you know? It's not the real world. And it's
not the end of the world.
Q. Was there anyone in particular who inspired you
during your time as a Wildcat?
A. I had one professor this last semester, ... Alfred
Quiroz, my painting instructor, [who] connected with
me right away. He would never leave me alone -- over
my shoulder, not yelling at me, seeing how I'm doing.
I didn't get the chance to say goodbye, though,
because the last week my mom was sick in New Mexico,
and I went to see her.
Q. What would you have said to him?
A. I'd just say, "Thank you, thanks for understanding
what I was doing all semester." All the other
professors blew me off. So, I'd just say thanks. He'd
talk directly about the art world -- it's a cutthroat
world. Coming into this, I was real self-conscious
about my art and what I did.
Q. So what's that like? To develop a personal
connection over art, which is already so personal?
A. He gave you no options. He would tell me right off
the bat what he thought -- if he liked something, if
he didn't like it. He gave me little option. I had to
connect with him because I had to explain myself to
him. Not a personal relationship, but more of respect.
But that's OK. What he did for me in class was enough
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