Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Portrait of a First-Year College Student: GROWTH & MATURITY


A year ago, Gadiel Montero had just graduated from Northbrook High School in Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) and was anxious because his planned visit to Colby College was canceled due to bad weather. He had already been accepted to attend Colby in August with a full-ride scholarship from the Posse Foundation but didn’t know what to expect.

“I was scared,” Montero said about his arrival on the Colby College campus. “But now, I have learned not to be scared of college anymore. I learned to manage myself, move around campus, and handle the routines.”

More Guardrails

When asked what he would do differently if he could redo his first year, Montero said he would put more guardrails in place to be more efficient with his time. He realizes he could have benefited from more study groups where members push each other to do homework and prepare for tests.

“Especially during the second semester when the weather started getting better, and everyone wanted to be outside more,” Montero added. Despite these distractions, Montero achieved top marks in all four of his classes, securing not only straight A’s but also two coveted A+ grades.

Ask for Help

Another lesson Montero learned is to ask for help when needed. He found that there is usually a person or department available to assist students with unexpected hurdles. He recounted a time when he had a medical bill beyond what he was expecting or able to pay. He heard about the Student Success Fund at Colby College and was able to secure funds to help cover the expense.

Montero also noticed a physiological change in himself this year. As he moved beyond his teenage years, his body no longer used energy to develop and grow taller, making it easier to gain weight. To compensate, Montero regularly went to the gym and carefully chose what to eat instead of relying on the meals his parents provided when he was growing up.

Summer Activities

This summer, Montero secured a part-time internship with a veterinary clinic in the Katy area, gaining valuable experience for his goal of becoming a veterinarian. He is also seeking an additional paid position in the Houston area to help with travel and other expenses. Any job offers?

A trip to South Carolina to visit his girlfriend and meet her family is also in Montero’s summer plans.

When he returns to Colby in August, he will work as a Community Advisor (CA) in one of the dorms. “My CA this year was like a mentor to me,” Montero said. “She inspired me. My job as a CA next year will be to help residents and support them in any way I can.” He will also be responsible for planning social activities to help residents settle into college life.

Montero and his Posse group of 10 students from the Houston area will continue to meet weekly next school year. The group and their advisor serve as colleagues who help each other navigate the challenges of college and living away from home.

Looking ahead to next January, Montero hopes to be selected for a competitive, school-sponsored leadership development trip to an animal reserve in Namibia. Besides his interest in visiting Africa, he believes the experience, along with his summer internship, will enhance his applications to veterinary schools in the future.

A year of growth, maturity, confidence building, and horizon-expanding experiences has prepared Montero for the next chapters of his journey to full adulthood. Thank you, Gadiel, for sharing your journey with the SBISD community as you embody the Core Characteristics of a T-2-4 Graduate.

Are you a rising junior or senior eager to jumpstart your college or career journey? Click here to explore the array of online resources tailored specifically for SBISD students.