What is it that defines a celebrity of UCI? Is it their extra-curricular activities, their involvement, or their success? Personally, an individual deserving of this title does not meet this criteria that society demands they follow. A celebrity is one with passion so strong that its vibrant colors exude from their every being, luring people in with their warmth, inspiration, and motivation; these are the individuals who must be recognized for their rare zeal. Luckily, I was able to find one of these rare jewels as a first year archaeologist and was enticed by its detailed passion; the rare gem I discovered, with its passionate curvature and inspirational shine, is titled Jin Puertollano.
As a fourth year business administration major with a French minor, I found this rare jewel, buried in the ground of Middle Earth's Shire hall, shining his inspirational light on the lives of first year students and residents. Although he is a campus representative, the former president of Merage Undergraduate Student Association, Office of Admission's Student Ambassador, Kababayan member, Philippino American Culture Night cast member of 2012, and Circle of Fifths all male acapella group singer, these activities do not represent his inspirational motif. Rather, it is his role as a resident advisor of the Shire, and his involvement in Spop 2011 and 2012 that do make him recognizable as a celebrity for Her Campus magazine. When asking him about his role as an RA and Spop staffer, he defined his position to be one that helps freshman get acquainted with UCI in general; he is involved with freshman because he wants to help give them a good experience and introduction to their new college life. Because he is a fourth year student at UCI, I had to ask about the constant habitat he is surrounded by (being with freshman and all) and he explained that it gets him excited for the future of UCI. He loves watching his residents and spoppers become more and more accomplished--being involved on campus, finishing their finals with pride etc. Further, he is happy to see the progression of the future. He explains that he is really excited to know that freshmen still have three years left to accomplish success. Moreover, he accepts the role as their gardener and is proud to plant the starting experience at UCI for freshmen, so that they are able to blossom into successful, involved adults.
Although he may be unaware of his rare design, Jin's passion for UCI carries over into everything he does and it affects other people drastically. "The passion he has encourages us to be more involved in the UCI community" his resident explains. He has this infectious personality that makes individuals want to get involved; he "does not purposely attempt to get people involved, but it just so happens to work out in that way" his other residents further explains. When speaking to Jin, he is happy to hear that he has made an impact on the freshmen community because he defines his mission to be one that impacts freshmen. When asking him about the promises he finds in freshmen that motivates him, he explains that they are all "open-minded compared to the rest of the UCI community." He further defines that the upper-classmen all have their own personal definition and daily routine, whereas the freshmen are still trying to find themselves; they are able to try new experiences more so than the older anteaters UCI shelters.
Jin describes two specific experiences that have shaped his personal motivation. One of which was living in Middle Earth's Crickhollow his freshman year at UCI. He described his inspiration to be his RA Katrina Castillo; she brought her hall together and influenced his personal excitement for UCI. Katrina was his support system freshman year and initially inspired him to become an RA. Additionally, she gave him the first family he has ever had at UCI; if not for her support and position as an RA, Jin would not be shaped to inspire the freshmen community. The other family he describes is the Campus Representatives Program. He describes them to be the "most energetic, down to earth people he has ever met that helped shape his overall experience at UCI." He explains that all of them are inspirational and helped him find confidence in himself; moreover, he explains that they will support him no matter the choices he makes while moving forward in life.
I asked Jin the motto he lives by and he quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, saying "to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else, is the greatest accomplishment." He further explains that people do not look into a lot of issues themselves; they follow the crowd without forming their own opinions on things. He sets an example, through this motto, by trying not to follow societal norms, but instead he sees how a specific problem applies to him and reflects on what he truly believes. Jin advises that all take up this motto and live their life truly through their own individuality.
Jin Puertollano is a jewel that represents involvement and individuality. His inspirational shine, both infectious and warm, spreads throughout the freshmen community and motivates the children of UCI to become more involved and at home with the college campus overall. He is truly an exceptional, unique candidate for Her Campus magazine and deserving of each syllable and definition of the title "celebrity."