Shooting hoops and starting over
Jared Arambula has been around the world and back. He’s originally from Valparaiso, started an elementary education degree in Alabama, lived in Europe for nearly seven years, and then returned to Northwest Indiana.
Now, he’s about to graduate from IU Northwest with a Bachelor of General Studies. But getting to graduation day certainly hasn’t been a linear path for Arambula.
When he attended college the first time in Alabama, Arambula was also excelling at wheelchair basketball. In the years he played, he made it to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, earning a gold medal. Arambula also appeared at the 2015 Toronto Parapan Games and the NWBA National Tournament, adding two more gold medals to his collection.
But wheelchair basketball wasn’t the be-all-end-all for Arambula. After years of living in Europe and the onset of COVID, he decided it was time to finish his degree. “I took COVID as a sign to start a new life,” he said.
Although he already had taken courses in elementary education, Arambula realized it would take just as long to finish that degree as it would to start over. The good news? Many of his credits would transfer to IU Northwest.
“I had so many credits transferred, a general studies degree made sense to finish as fast as possible,” Arambula said.
As he began classes at the campus, Arambula knew he’d face no shortage of obstacles, from his age to his disability. He said he feared he would feel out of place as the oldest person in the room.
“But the teachers and students were helpful,” he said. “They made me feel like I belonged.”
That sense of belonging, and his own sense of drive, was enough to get him through his degree. For Arambula, IU Northwest was a crucial factor in helping him meet his goals.
“As a disabled person, it is much harder to find a job that can work with my lifestyle. School is the only option I had,” he said. “Without IU Northwest, I would not have been able to go back to school.”
Arambula emphasized the friendly culture at IU Northwest and appreciates just how much the campus helped build his self-confidence. With that new boost of confidence, Arambula is excited to look toward the future. After graduation, he plans to learn to code and possibly enroll in a master’s program at IU Northwest.
A glance at Arambula’s story, and it seems that he’s lived many lives over the years. With that experience under his belt, he’s learned never to be afraid of starting over.
“Have the confidence to try something new,” he said. “I could have failed after transferring but I happened to find a place that works for me. Never be scared to fail or start over.”