Rising from the struggles: Mejia speaks on education

Ernesto MejiaPhoto courtesy of: Georgia Southern University

Caitlyn Oliver

Hispanic Heritage Month at Georgia Southern University started off tonight with motivational speaker Ernesto Mejia who shared with students the need for a college education.

“He was recommended by some students from the Association of Latin American Students for the Diversity Series,” Dorsey Baldwin, Director of the Multicultural Center, said. “Other students had heard him at an African American student conference and spoke highly of him.”

Mejia is not a traditional speaker.  He kept the audience involved and showed them what they were truly capable of with a few exercises.

“I liked the interactive aspect.  The most important thing I got from his presentation was that your state of mind determines your success or failure.  If you think you’ll fail, you already have,” Moniesha Wilson, junior International Studies major, said.

Mejia focused on overcoming obstacles and that education is the way to achieve something greater.  He shared his personal story about his family growing up, losing his father and how his mother’s influence led him to the success he has today.

“I’m not here to share a sob story.  It’s not a contest to see who has the worst life.  I’m honest and straightforward about it.  I have female friends who won’t ask my opinion on their dress because I’ll tell them to take the curtain off and find something else,” Mejia said.

Ernesto Mejia shared how he went to school because his parents wanted him to have a better life and higher education than they did.

“I asked my dad why we were still here even though he suffered and he told me ‘You will not be stupid like me’,” Mejia said.

As a college student, Mejia fell into partying and didn’t take school seriously, causing him to be kicked out after three semesters.

To make up for what he lost almost a year later, he took 18 credit hours, worked 40 hours per week and bartended part-time.  Mejia ending up graduating college with a 3.7 GPA.

“I am not a success story, I am a working story,” Mejia stated.

As a unique speaker, Mejia said the best way students can thank him for having an impact on their life is to send him a picture with their college diploma.

Doug Peters, second year graduate student of Higher Education, said, “He is an incredibly inspiring speaker.  I’ve never seen anything like what he did before.  Normally you can tell where they’re going with a presentation but I couldn’t predict what he’d say.  His story and how he overcame his obstacles was very powerful.”