Kenrick — A Conversation with Kenrick Mark Coleman Features Jamir Sanchez
The Kenrick Mark Coleman Foundation
Kenrick — A Conversation with Kenrick Mark Coleman Features Jamir Sanchez
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jamir Sanchez. I’m 20 years old. I was raised in San Ignacio, Cayo. I come from an amazing family of five. They support me unconditionally in all my endeavors and my parents have always been the driving force for me in reaching my goals. As the middle child, the family dynamic is full of endless teasing since my siblings and I were born 3 years apart. I am an eager person with a passion for putting what I know to use. I think that stems from my father’s influence and fascination with learning and education. My hobbies include playing guitar and piano, reading and exercising.
2. You are currently enrolled at Spring Hill College pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Financial Economics. What do you believe is important in this role?
Coming to Spring Hill, I chose to focus more on the Business branch of Economics because my Associate’s Degree was already geared towards the social field of Economics. What is important in Financial Economics is the fact that it focuses on why policy-making and forecasting must be as accurate as possible, to understand the inner-workings of any economy. It combines what I’ve learned in my studies at St. John’s College Junior College and takes it one level up; to look at the bigger picture.
3. Tell us more about your academic life at this University? How did you receive the scholarship? Why did you choose this particular University? When did you commence studies? What subject areas are focused on? What’s your relationship like with fellow students?
This Tuition Scholarship to Spring Hill College was part of the Jesuit Scholar Program which I applied for in my last semester at St. John’s College Junior College. After going through a panel interview process and meeting academic requirements, I was nominated for the award to complete my studies in Mobile, Alabama at Spring Hill College. I keep saying “Spring Hill fell in my lap” because I was unaware that this place even existed at the time. When I decided to move my life here in August of 2016, my mind wandered with possibilities of the impact I could make at the school and in the lives of others. As a Liberal Arts College, Spring Hill’s curriculum offers courses that encourage students to become well-rounded, requiring some Fine Arts, Science, Communications, Philosophy and Theology, and History courses outside of your program of choice. That gave me something to look forward to, in terms of challenging academics. I’ve always been outgoing growing up, so being social with almost everyone in my class was not much of a problem. It seems I get along just fine.
4. Describe your transformation process from little Belize to Mobile, Alabama, USA?
My only words to describe it would be “culture shock”. Sure, some aspects of American culture I was familiar with in terms of movies, music and books. I was nervous about coming to the South because of the preconceived notions I had, that trickled down from American History. In that aspect I was wrong to judge, because for them it is a burden they have to live with; the scars of their ancestors’ racial past. In reality, they welcomed me and my family during orientation in a most genuine way. They were just as curious to learn about me and my culture as I was interested in theirs. The people I met who were familiar with Belize always stirred up conversation saying they would want to come visit me and some of them actually did in the summer of 2017.
5. What are the challenges you are facing as a student at university? Opportunities? How is life as a student in Mobile?
As a student at university, the challenge I face the most is sometimes being spread too thin. I am heavily involved in campus life; Greek Life, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, and I work two on-campus jobs that serve as an internship in the Finance Office and one that I do for pocket money. My friends ask how I manage to do it all on top of getting sleep and remaining on the Dean’s List every semester. All I can say is that time management and choosing which extra-curriculars have more priority, is my secret solution. There are times when I suffer and end up strung out but that’s part of it; learning how to cope with stress and to keep moving forward. Mobile itself is a vibrant city; it’s historic, it’s a landmark for manufacturing jobs, oil rigs and it’s a major port for cruise ships. The downtown life attracts significant attention because it’s diverse and is credited with being the birthplace of “Mardi Gras”. It’s never dull because there’s always something going on — a concert, the Artwalk, the beach is an hour away and there are different places to explore.
6. Why is your major important to Belize’s National Development?
Financial Economics focuses on the importance of Economic behavior as it pertains to financial markets, consumer behavior, the general price level and economic growth, so it could be an avenue for policymaking, using models as guidelines when assessing Belize’s opportunities for growth. We’re a young country and there is so much that we can do to actually improve the current state it is in.
7. Do you participate in activities with other Belizeans there? Tell us more. How do you uphold Belize’s namesake?
Because my personal activities keep me occupied, it is hard to get the other Belizeans together. We’re all busy, but what’s helped is when we’ve gathered for dinner at the Jesuit Residence on few occasions. They’re intrigued by us and we all get to know each other over a nice meal.
Being part of the Orientation Leader Team in June of 2017 definitely helped get my name out. Working with incoming students and parents was such a rewarding experience that when parents came to visit, they would recognize me and say “it’s my Belizean friend,” so it’s good to have positive experiences like that. I get to celebrate who I am even though I’m 2000 miles away from home and people respect that.
8. In one of my recent articles, I stated: ‘It is important to realize that majority of Belize’s younger populations continue to be very mediocre as it relates to becoming holistically educated and cultured, personally and professionally.’ What’s your perspective on this? What is your personal definition of discipline and excellence?
I don’t disagree with that statement at all; however, my experience was different. I remember going through primary school and high school where my teachers demanded excellence and I was up to the challenge. If it weren’t for them, the way I learned to analyze and do proper research would probably be sub-standard. I feel in the last eight years, that teachers have become more lenient because I see the younger generation not knowing how to do things, that in my opinion, should have already been taught. I think there’s a lack of discipline where students have become lazy and don’t like to do the work. For me, it was “you either do it and improve, or get left behind.”
9. What can Belize expect from Jamir Sanchez, in let’s say, the next five years? What should be 5 priorities for national sustainable development?
In the next 5 years, I would say that there is room for me to grow personally and having more to offer to Belize in terms of working with Business startups, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Statistical Institute of Belize and if the Central Bank would have me, that could also be an option. What’s important is that I keep my options open and see where I could best be an asset. For Sustainable Development, Belize needs to focus on more green initiatives, investing in cleaner energy, and above all, we need to invest more in our human resources. I would hope that there could be more of an appreciation for the Performing Arts and Sports because I think our artists deserve recognition and our athletes deserve to earn a living for representing us on the world stage.
10. What three words do you have to say to young Belizeans?
I don’t have three words so I’ll say it in 4. “Make yourself an asset.” I can’t emphasize how important putting forth your best effort can do wonders for you. It will gain you recognition among your peers and potential employers. Opportunity comes and finds you when you let it, and when you work smarter, not harder.