Latinxperience: Juan Castro
What is your role at Carolina?
I am a first-year graduate student in the Gillings School of Public Health working on a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. I am also a double Tar Heel! I graduated in May 2022 with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. I am currently serving at the CLC as a Graduate Student Ambassador assisting with the creation of the Enlaces volunteer corps and Lider Programming.
What does “Vivir Mi Vida” mean to you?
“Vivir mi Vida”, to me, means to live with authenticity. I can confidently say that being at UNC, I have grown to be empowered in who I am and how my identity has shaped that. Being Latinx at a PWI can be hard, but when you find your community and you find those places that make you feel celebrated and included, you will grow to be braver and more empowered in spaces that are not as familiar or inclusive.
How has being at Carolina impacted you?
Carolina has impacted my life in many ways. Whether it be through exposing me to new forms of leadership or to making some of the best friends here, it has been an integral part of my life. Carolina has also impacted on me in my awareness of what is going on in the environment around me and what I can do to elicit or bring change. Carolina connected me with the Latinx community more than any other institution I attended before. This community, the CLC, and my involvement has helped me see how big of a need there is in my community but also how much of a similar experience there is as well. Forming close ties with the Latinx community at UNC provided me the connections and support I needed to succeed and find my passions.
What is your hidden talent?
I turn into the world’s best singer when I am behind the wheel of my car. If you heard angelic voices coming out of a Honda zipping through campus, it’s probably me…
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I was always under the impression that I had to be self-sufficient all throughout high school and my first years of undergrad. I now look back and think of how much easier my life would have been if I just asked a question or reached out for help. No one will judge you for asking for help. The worst answer you can get is no, and from that we pivot and find a new solution.