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Perez on a quest to help high school youth

Throughout her time here at Wesleyan, Maria Dolores-Perez has found her passion for what she wants to do in life. Starting as a biology major and graduating as a psychology and English major, Perez found herself in a quest to help those around her.

“I wanted to be a doctor at first, but I realized that wasn’t my passion, and I wasn’t really good with my hands. So, I quickly found psychology because I started taking psych classes with my biology major,” Perez said.

Perez said that meeting Dr. Stacia Campbell was the game changer for her career. While she enjoyed learning about social and normal psychology, Perez said she became convinced to take on an English minor because of her American literature class with Dr. Campbell.

“I remember one of her assignments that I really loved was when we got to pick a song and we had to analyze it by looking at the lyrics by themselves, then the sounds by themselves, and then the videos by themselves. I wrote more pages than I needed to for that project,” Perez said.

When she was almost done with her requirements for her psychology major, Perez decided to major in English and become a tutor at the Academic Success Center.

“Given tutoring, I helped so many different people from so many different countries, and that’s what’s pretty unique about Wesleyan, is that it’s so diverse, you get to meet people from different walks of life,” Perez said.

Perez said she chose Wesleyan because she felt that the small school would give her the opportunity to ask questions that would allow her to get to know her professors better and have a mentor relationship with them.

“I always told myself whenever I decided I wanted to be a counselor, I was like, I want to do marriage therapy,” Perez said. “But I would also be interested in working with juveniles in the juvenile system, because they remind me of my brother.”

Perez said her brother has been going through depression, and she remembered how he wanted to have someone in his life who could just listen to him.

“I would like to teach at a high school, and just help out all the minority groups that are really struggling with writing, because I understand how that feels. I still struggle with writing, it’s so hard to have two languages and having to translate in standard English,” Perez said.

Perez often volunteers at the Texas Wesleyan Community Counseling Center to help translate sessions for bilingual patients and their respective counselors.

“I also think it’s really important, especially now that there’s less Spanish speaking counselors in Texas, and since we have a very large Hispanic population in Texas, it’s really sad to know that there’s not a lot of bilingual counselors out there,” Perez said. 

Presently, Perez has applied to be a counselor but also applied to graduate school at TCU for English. She got accepted to both programs, however, TCU is offering a full-ride scholarship.

“I’m just going to say this: I will try to get my master’s in English and I’m going to try to help students with their writing,” Perez said. “And if I still feel from the inside that I need to go into counseling, I will apply for that later in life.”

Perez said this will allow her to have a better understanding of what group of people she would like to work with and what she would enjoy doing more.

“There isn’t a specific time for you to do things, you just get to know yourself and if it doesn’t work out then you just go to the next thing,” Perez said. “Let’s say I really enjoy working with people in high school, once I become a teacher, I can stay in that profession and expand on my English. If I don’t, then I can still go the counseling route.”

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Perez on a quest to help high school youth