They say you meet amazing people in college. They say you make true, lifelong friends. They say you find people who are as crazy about Chick-fil-A as you are…or at least that's what I’ve found by knowing Jackie Vazquez and calling her a friend.
Jacqueline is in her third year here at UCF, and she will be graduating this semester. She is an advertising and public relations major, and is involved with the Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM), Quotes (the PR club at UCF), intramural sports, and Latin Rhythm, UCF’s Hispanic/Salsa dancing club.
Jackie is passionate about people. She wanted to find a way to serve and love people, so she chose public relations.
“I am a firm believer of everyone having a unique and irreplaceable set of gifts,” she said. “And we are meant to grow and learn more so that we can reach our full potential.”
Jackie was able to get in touch with her natural gifts and truly exercise all she had learned when she had the opportunity to intern with Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. Her job was to build up the brand, while spreading love and hope- things she is already very good at.
“I wrote copy for local ads, I wrote Wish stories for the website (which basically told the stories of children who had their wishes granted), and I interviewed families for articles and other content writing. It was humbling to play a small part in the lives of families who are affected by medical conditions and know that I helped bring hope, strength and joy to their children by helping their dreams come true.”
Jackie has a caring heart, and brings her joy and passion to everything she does. The Catholic Campus Ministry at UCF has a special place in her heart, and it is evident from the first moment I met her that she is participating and building up something she loves very much.
My favorite part of CCM is serving the Lord and having communion with others,” she said. “Everyone needs community, and with time, I was able to become a part of the CCM community at UCF. I've made lifelong friends here, and I have learned so many beautiful things about my faith along the way.
The people she has been surrounded and loved by have built her up into the person she is, the person who now builds up and loves others.
“I am forever grateful for them, and that is why I serve the community (and UCF) in return. The cool thing about CCM is that it isn't some exclusive club--it is one universal church. All are welcome, and I'm so passionate about sharing the Gospel and loving other people. This community spreads its light on campus and really helps build up the Knight Nation as a whole!”
Last year, Jackie served as the sports committee chair for the ministry, organizing the IM sports teams for CCM. This year, she is serving as the Vice President of CCM. Her role is to facilitate student outreach, formation nights, tabling in front of the Student Union, and coordinating and leading ministry events. And more. She’s amazing.
“In short, this ministry has my whole heart and the community has become like family to me.”
Jackie is a blessing to everyone she meets. She is a light and love and laughter. She is warm and kind, and I am very lucky to know her and to be able to write about her.
I asked if she had any advice to give to girls in college or preparing to graduate.
“Though I am only in my third year of college, I am graduating in May. It's new and nerve wracking and stressful, but it's not impossible. My advice to someone who is about to experience transition in their life, whether it be a new job, a new responsibility or a new chapter (like graduating!) is to take action. You are not meant to be paralyzed by fear and allow opportunities to pass you by. It can be discouraging at times to allow the "what if's" of life to consume us, but taking action allows us to discern what is meant for our lives. Overthinking will be your downfall, so my advice is to surround yourself with people who will love you and hold you accountable, pray for peace, and to GO FOR IT. If you are who God meant you to be, you'll set the world on fire! You are so loved, trailblazer.”