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First Generation College Grad Shares How to Make a Habit of Challenging Yourself

Karina Gallardo
Team Leader
Phoenix, AZ
Pronouns: She/Her

Veterinarian to finance

When I was younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian. And while my career interests have changed over time (don’t get me wrong, I still love animals), what’s remained the same is my desire to make a difference. I fell in love with Discover shortly after starting because it was evident I could make a difference here. I knew I could develop a career in this forward-thinking industry. This job has also allowed me to continue developing and learning, and I’ve gained so many skills over the years.

Learning brings creativity

A piece of advice I live by is to never ever stop learning and growing as a person. I always like to challenge myself to grow my current professional skill level. This advice has also helped me enhance my people skills, leadership skills, attitude, and ability to handle difficult situations. Asking questions with the intent to learn, brings out my creativity.

A diploma is a gift

I’m most proud of earning my bachelor’s degree in psychology.  I was the first in my family to graduate from college— and I earned it. The late nights, homework sessions, and early mornings were all worth it. Getting my degree taught me how to truly prioritize my time. Because I was also working full-time, I had to build great habits and stay focused on my goals. Everything I learned in my studies has given me a big advantage in my career now. I won’t ever forget gifting my diploma to my family.

Family holiday traditions

One of my favorite traditions with my family comes the day after Christmas. Every year we wake up really early (even though we’ve stayed up really late the night before) to open presents and make the drive to Flagstaff, Arizona. We love to play in the snow, eat next to a fire, and play games all day long. It’s so nice to spend time will all of my family and unplug from everything.

Just go for it

Over the course of my career, I’ve learned to put myself first and prioritize my career. While I love taking care of people, I often have to take a step back and consider the costs. I can’t provide for others if it comes at the expense of taking care of myself. Another big learning moment for me was learning how to “just go for it.” Careers, friendships, relationships, and new experiences. I like to live my life curious and ready for new things.


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