After his acceptance to Harvard University, Richard quickly began to form bonds with his mentors within the Harvard Chapter of FGI. Outside of the weekly curriculum, he garnered personal insights about his upcoming first-year experience and made friends. Richard contributed greatly to the strength of the FGI-Harvard community as a student of the program, and now plans to return as a mentor in the fall. He is instrumental in building and maintaining the bridge between FGI and high school students in the Boston area undergoing the college admissions process. Richard plans to major in neuroscience and minor in Economics or Computer Science. He also hopes to walk onto the football team at Harvard. At University, he looks forward to diving into his academic passions with his infectious sense of personability and curiosity. Below is our conversation with Richard:
Richard: Hey, I’m Richard and I am a rising freshman at Harvard. I was originally born in Honduras, and I moved here around sixth grade. I became a member of FGI last spring. I had just met Seven through a contact from my high school in Chelsea who was friends with him at Harvard, and that's how we got connected. He told me about the program and I decided to join him.
Elizabeth: Did you know much about finance, personal finance, or investing before you joined FGI?
Richard: I knew, you know, like the general idea that’s thrown around social media like Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. I knew it was investing in stocks. But that’s not like the deep-end version of it. It's more of the detail that they went into during the meetings.
Elizabeth: Do you think your interest in finance will continue? Are there aspects of finance or business you hope to continue in college?
Richard: Yes, I'm actually debating it as my minor, because I'm going to Harvard majoring in Neuroscience. But not technical or business-related science. Computer science was originally going to be my minor, but, as I said, once I joined FGI I started debating and leaning more towards Economics as a minor, mainly because of personal finance and professional finance as well. I never really took that into consideration before, never dove into that specific field, especially in a high school that doesn't offer economic classes overall beyond general intro-level courses: “Gen. Ed's”.
Elizabeth: It's awesome that FGI was able to be that inspiration for you to begin to lean toward a business-related minor. Are you a pre-med student?
Richard: I don’t know, I definitely would like to be in the medical field and like patient care. I'm just not sure if I would take that route just yet.
Elizabeth: Yeah, totally. That's a big commitment. Do you think you have any interest in joining the Harvard chapter of FGI?
Richard: Absolutely. Well, Seven kind of talked me into it, but I will definitely be joining my freshman year.
Elizabeth: That will be such a cool gap to bridge! Once you get to Harvard, you’ll have the ability to mentor kids that are in the shoes you were. Have you done any tours of Harvard or gone around with Seven, kind of giving you the lay of the land at all?
Richard: Um, so I was like, an unofficial tour with my uncle my freshman year in high school, because he came over from Seattle, and he was a big fan of education. So he took me there and he was like, “I hope you know, you can get in there.” So that was like my first view of Harvard. Now that I am accepted, I have gone by myself and just walked around, but I haven't had an official tour. We kept meaning to but because of COVID we didn't get the chance to get in contact with them just yet.
Elizabeth: What are you most excited about in the coming year?
Richard: I am excited to meet new people, and I think that’s kind of like the main thing that everyone's excited about. Also, I was hoping to walk onto the football team. I talked to a few of the coaches, so that'd be in the springtime. Another thing that I’m really looking forward to is just transitioning to college life, mainly because I know it's so different from high school life. I was used to sitting at home not as invested in education as I will be in college.
Elizabeth: Did you have a favorite part of FGI or anything else you’d want to say?
Richard: My favorite part of FGI was definitely before and after the meetings, or just interacting with the mentors. Especially because there were so many actual Harvard students and the fact that they knew that I was coming in. So they were like, giving so much advice, and advice you wouldn't generally get from just like a website or from alumni. It's things that they are living, and they just want to pass it on. So it was pretty interesting to feel like I'm more ready for the transition. And also just a casual conversation makes it more like, a fun part of a group instead of just going through slides and teaching about stocks and more like, personal stuff and actually getting to know one another.
Elizabeth: Yeah, definitely. We tried to do that a lot at Georgetown too to get that community aspect across. And then also that kind of personal look into not necessarily what school they will be going to, but just like what college is like, in general, we try to be that type of mentorship, but now you have the opportunity to maybe be that which is so cool.
Richard: Just like giving kids a personal touch on what college will be like, yeah, also like this other aspect of FGI-- I don’t remember his name, but after every session, he would just ask us about any stocks that we were interested in. And he personally would invest his own money to see how they did. Even though it's kind of risky, I felt like more of a personal connection, because he actually put his trust in us to judge the stocks. He gave us more of a personal take on how to deal with stocks more than the slides did in a way.
Elizabeth: That’s incredible. Well, I wish you the best of luck in the fall! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me!