Christian Feliciano is an Instructor for the College Apps Academy at Reality Changers, a non-profit organization in San Diego that serves over 1,000 youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in Southern California every year guided by the motto, “College changes everything.” He’s passionate about helping students from underserved backgrounds in order to one day close the achievement gap.
“It’s really about teaching these students that they can believe in themselves, that they can go to college.”
Find out how Christian chases his passion on the Find Your Passion Career Podcast!
Born and raised in Paradise Hills of Southeast San Diego, inspired by his high school physics teacher Christian planned to return to his community as a teacher himself. But he realized he didn’t enjoy physics and instead chose to major in chemistry.
Meanwhile he sought out mentoring opportunities to give back to his high school while still in undergrad.
“That’s where my seed for my passion really blossomed. That’s when I figured out, I want to help students succeed inside and outside the classroom, so I took the outside of the classroom approach,” said Christian.
After graduation from UC San Diego with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry, his transition from university to the career world took time, patience and trust. He also faced rejection from a fellowship in student affairs , a dream opportunity that he was very close to getting.
“It was crushing…after I got that phone call rejection…the first person I called was my mom and I broke down. Especially since I thought that I’m putting my all into my passion career, that the things I would want would come to me fast. It hit me like a train because I had to realize it’s going to come to you at the right time, but of course absorbing that in that moment, it hurt.”
But in times of doubt, he turned to his support system and even his resume to remind him of his accomplishments.
“I had to realize maybe I wasn’t the right person for the position but also the position wasn’t the right one for me.”
“Especially since I am pursuing my passion career, I have to trust the process and that if I am going to be in the right position, it is going to come to me at the right time.”
Finding his mentor
On the podcast, Christian explains how he was fortunate enough to meet someone who pointed him in the direction of Reality Changers and how serendipitous it was that his mentor Noelle had previously directed the College Apps Academy at the organization.
“I really believe in the ability of someone to pass on their knowledge to you,” said Christian.
Now, as an Academy Instructor, Christian teaches how to be a successful college applicant, gives advice on college essays and—most importantly—makes connections with students and instills the confidence for them to own their stories.
“Some students need like life motivation speeches some students need help structuring their essays but what I think is really important is making that connection because especially with the students at Reality Changers it’s not always about how much I know, it’s about how much I care for them. And after I make that bridge with the connection and care then I can pass on the knowledge I have about getting to college.”
Christian has a vision for creating programs that further bridges the path for the junior participants to get involved in the college application process. He also plans to return to grad school to get his masters. He even received inspiration and encouragement from his students to apply to Stanford’s dual education and MBA program.
Christian explains his ultimate goal for his students: “I want them to experience beautiful success.”
How can you seek out a mentor in your career journey? Learn from Christian by looking for guidance from someone who has already taken spots in a passion career that you want to pursue.
Once you’re inspired by Christian’s story, we would love to read your review. Thanks so much!