Updated: Mar 25, 2021
My name is Jesus Carlos; but, I go by Jesse. I am a native Californian presently residing in Cambridge, MA. Currently, I am a junior at Harvard College pursuing a bachelor's degree in Economics with a secondary focus in Government at Harvard University.
Before beginning my academic journey, I served nine years on active duty in the US Army. I held several duty positions focused on Sniper, Ranger, and Airborne operations. I spent a large portion of my time in the military stationed in Vicenza, Italy, with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. There, I had the opportunity to represent the United States in multiple international military competitions and was deployed to Afghanistan twice to support Operations Enduring Freedom X and XIII. During my time in Italy, I had the opportunity to travel the world, visiting five continents and countless countries.
Given all the excellent opportunities presented to me in the military, transitioning into academia was a tough decision. At a certain point, I was at crossroads in my career - to either re-enlist in the military or start my next chapter. I chose the latter and have not looked back since. Although I now feel comfortable in academia, this was not always the case. My initial experience returning to school was hard-fought, as I attempted to split my time between my military duties and community college courses. However, the most challenging part of all was having confidence in myself and believing that I could be successful outside of the military. After spending a third of my adult life training and being in active combat situations, I would equate my academic skills at that point to those of a toddler. I had to relearn how to walk. Luckily, I was met with open arms and overwhelming support from my community college teachers, friends, and family.
During my second year at Highline Community College, I not only was accepted into a few universities, but I had the luxury of choosing between multiple Ivy League schools. In the end, looking back on this, I am extremely happy I chose Harvard because of its community and academics. Today, I am fortunate enough to have most, if not all, of my courses taught by the leading scholars on the topic or field. I am continually in awe of the passion and insight of my professors. Outside of my classes, I am actively involved with a few extracurricular organizations. I am the Director of Operations for the Harvard Undergraduate Veterans Organization (HUVO) and a member of the Harvard Financial Analysts Club (HFAC).
After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in finance and I hope to make a difference in the lives of veterans by providing wealth management advising. For now, I look forward to my graduation in 2022. I hope that my story will inspire other military members and make them see that if I can do it, so can they.