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A change of mindset leads to a bright future

Miguel Bahena is graduating as a biochemistry major from the School of Molecular Sciences.

April 28, 2020

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.

Miguel Bahena, a first-generation student at Arizona State University, is an Arizona native who attended Sierra Linda High School before coming to ASU. In his free time, you can catch him training to run a marathon. He is currently one of the prestigious Obama Scholars and is proud to be graduating as a biochemistry major from the School of Molecular Sciences this 2020 spring academic semester.

Bahena had the chance to experience the ASU Tempe campus well before settling into the Sun Devil community. He participated in the Early Start program, which allowed him to live on campus for two weeks. He enjoyed it very much and decided that ASU was the perfect match, he said. After graduating high school, he came directly to ASU as a biochemistry major. 

Through his journey to graduation, he has overcome many hurdles, both academically and personally. Bahena came across an obstacle that many students face during their first year: The pressures of being a first-generation student and negative self-talk started to settle in. Being overwhelmed by the feeling of not being good or smart enough in his classes led him to fear the unknown. He then eventually left the School of Molecular Sciences and changed his major to health science. 

Bahena took time to reevaluate his situation and himself. During this time he mentioned that he started taking advantage of the free resources that ASU had to offer on campus, like going to his professors’ office hours and going to tutoring. He learned how to build the best version of himself and decided to give his biochemistry major another try. It took a lot of hard work and determination, but he did it and will be graduating on time.  

Question: What's the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

Answer: I would encourage others to not give up even when something seems impossible to accomplish. Instead, take a break and come back to it so that you are not too overwhelmed. Also, know your worth because you are enough, you just have to find the right combination of motivation and learning more about yourself.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to go to medical school but am first going to take a gap year and work as a lab technician to collect some funds for school. I am very passionate about giving back to the Hispanic community, especially through health care.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
The professor who taught me the most is Jason Houtchens. He made me feel like I was noticed and he went above and beyond when teaching. It made learning organic chemistry a lot more enjoyable and easy to understand. 

Written by Mariela Lozano Porras, School of Molecular Sciences communications assistant. Jenny Green contributed to the story.

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