Posted on May 3, 2023 by Rebekah Alegria

Jessica Crystal Hernandez , a senior business management student , began her Carlos Alvarez College of Business journey back in 2016. When life gave her lemons and a set of twin girls in 2017, Hernandez’s life looked much different than before. From expanding her family to gifting her mother with a kidney in her time of need, Jessica’s powerful story is anything but traditional.

What are your biggest motivations that have helped you through your academic and life journey?

My inspiration is my family and making them proud, especially my mom and my older brother. I have a set of twin girls who are six years old, and I have a son who turned 10 recently. We also have our dog named Blueberry. I do also have help from my mom. She helps me a lot, and she continues to help me a lot on this journey, going to school and everything.

If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. I had my daughters in 2017, but in 2018 she actually got sick and ended up on dialysis. I gave her a kidney. She’s doing so much better now, and she’s still helping me with my kids. She’s helping me finish, but all of the things in between having my kids and then going through the surgery and everything, it’s taken me a little bit longer to finish my degree, but I’m still here because of my mom and my family.

At this point, I’m almost there! I can’t stop, I can’t. I’m almost there.

What inspired you to come back to school to get your degree?

I actually was dismissed when I first came to the university in 2016-2017, I would miss classes because of life and its circumstances. It was so hard filling out the paperwork, but I did it. The fact that they gave me another chance is what motivated me. I told myself that I knew that I could do it. So, I am doing it!

One thing I will say is that you have to ask questions. You can’t just take no for an answer. When I was filling out the paperwork to come back to school, oh my gosh! I had to go here, I had to go there and everywhere throughout all the departments at UTSA. Keep asking all the questions you can, that help is out there. You just have to find it.

If one door shuts, keep going to the next one and the next. The process was difficult, but worth it. I was just happy to get another opportunity to get my degree.

Jessica Hernandez and her mother.

Describe your academic journey getting your degree as a non-traditional student.

Being a non-traditional student means enjoying going to class. Sometimes you need that in-person instruction so you can actually focus because there are a lot of distractions. On the flip side, you are also appreciative of the hybrid/online instruction, because sometimes my kids will get sick, or something will happen where I can’t make it to class. Being able to go back and do the lesson when it’s convenient, even if it’s at midnight or 3 o’clock in the morning, is amazing. It’s a lot of late nights, but also communicating a lot with your professors and just letting them know what’s going on in your life.

How have your professors helped you along the way in your non-traditional journey?

Kindness goes a long way, it is very motivating. I recently lost my grandmother and am in the process of moving, life is crazy right now. I let one of my professors know, and he said I’m really proud of you for everything that you’re doing and of the example you are setting for your children. That kindness means the world. My professors have really been there for me. And that’s probably the reason why I’m still here speaking with you.

What have been some highlights from your time at UTSA?

My professors have been my highlight. I’m just getting to know the professors as I continue on my academic journey and when they show you that they care and they understand, they get your mind going, and they inspire you to keep learning and keep going.

There are so many different people at UTSA. There are students straight out of high school, but there are also a lot of students that are just like me. There are students that are parents with jobs, and they’re still there rolling with the punches.

Meeting everybody, meeting my peers, my fellow students and meeting my professors and everybody at the Carlos Alvarez College of Business has been great. It really is like a team, a family effort. We all have each other’s backs.

How has attending college as a non-traditional student helped you in other ways aside from academics?

I work at a financial management company where I lead a team of six people. We process payroll for home health care providers for veterans.

I took a statistics class where we learned Excel and the different outs and ins to the program as well as some others. Learning Excel has helped me tremendously in learning all the Microsoft applications both at school and at my company, so it kind of put me ahead of the game.

What do you hope to accomplish at UTSA and beyond?

Jessica Hernandez and her children.

I hope to earn my degree in business administration, and I also hope to build my business, Bonnie’s Blinkies. I’ve used the Small Business Development Center to get everything started in my business’ early stages. I’m hoping to have online sales as well as street vending to sell light-up toys and other merchandise. I also want to use my small business to promote other people’s businesses. I have an Instagram page that I use to promote other small businesses ( @bb_promotes ) here in San Antonio. I have a friend who’s a photographer, I have a friend that does welding, I have a friend that sells houses. Anytime I see them post, if they ask me to share something or if they give me business cards, I always help in any way I can.

We’re all out here trying to make it, and one job is not enough, especially if you have a family. Whatever I can do, I just do it, you know. And I hope to figure out a way to get my sales and my promoting business altogether in one big successful business.

Do you have any advice for other non-traditional students like yourself?

Don’t get overwhelmed, communicate with your professors and be grateful and thankful for all the support that you have here at UTSA. There is always someone willing to help you along the way.

— Rebekah Alegria