With parents who immigrated to the U.S. to build a life for themselves and their family, Romero knew it was his responsibility to continue paying it forward to future generations. It’s this dedication that led to Romero graduating from ASU Online in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication and media studies.
As if attending classes wasn’t already enough, Romero worked full-time while completing his degree. He and his wife, who were married in 2018, also welcomed a baby at the start of the pandemic, shortly after Romero enrolled at ASU Online. So how was he able to balance such a demanding schedule?
He credits studying online with allowing him to structure his time and start his career while in school, rather than waiting until he completed his degree. Romero said he didn’t have the down time of commuting or gaps in his schedule between classes when he wasn’t being productive. Instead, he was able to create a routine that allowed him to be efficient and effective with all of his time.
While in school, Romero applied to several marketing agencies around the Phoenix area and was able to start working. He believes that this opportunity, created by his diligence and the flexibility of online learning, put him further along in his career than he otherwise would have been.
Romero also credits the support he found at ASU Online in helping him find success. He said that his professors were more than just lecturers; they offered support and were very responsive whenever he had questions. One of those professors wrote him a letter of recommendation and even suggested Romero apply to the graduate school program in which he’s currently enrolled. Romero credits that professor’s recommendation letter as the deciding factor for him being accepted into his current program and allowing him to build the future he's always envisioned for himself and his family.
On the day Romero was set to graduate, he started a new job in Boston. True to form, he forged ahead and continued working toward his next goal.
“When my diploma came in the mail from ASU, it was one of the most surreal experiences that I ever felt,” Romero said. “And it was the feeling of being supported throughout the whole time by people that weren't my family. I appreciate what my parents did throughout my whole life, but at this point, they knew nothing about the college landscape. And everything I had done up to that point in higher education was thanks to ASU.”
Romero is now completing his master’s degree and working full-time as a venture capital associate; both his job and degree program are online. He believes that one benefit of the challenges of the pandemic is that many people realized the value of online education and employment.
“All the people that I've talked to, whether they be executives or other grad students, they're realizing that things being done online doesn't mean inferior. It means that you have an extra drive to do things that other people wouldn't,” Romero said. “That's not to say in-person is less, but it is giving a new image going forward.”