When UCF senior J’lin Rose was in the fifth grade, his life’s dream was to take care of his great-grandmother, Viola, who helped raise him.

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“She didn’t get to see that,” Rose says, “but that concept of helping people out and making an impact in people’s lives is what stayed with me because it’s what I saw her do every day, and it drove me even more after she did pass.”

Viola “moved on to better places” — as Rose puts it — when he was 17 but her selfless spirit certainly lives on to him.

Smiles come naturally to him, as does conversation with strangers. Rose found his way to UCF after earning a bachelor’s degree in recording arts at Full Sail University and got involved on campus almost immediately. He served as a member on the Orientation Team and now works as the facilities specialist who oversees guest services at the Student Union, supervising close to 100 employees.

His journey has had some bumps along the way, but Rose doesn’t believe in making excuses.

“Success is not measured by accolades,” he says. “There’s a chance for me within my immediate family to do something big for everybody. I want to be able to show my younger siblings and cousins that no matter what situation you’re in, you can pull through and make something great out of yourself. You don’t have to be stuck where you’re at or be a product of your environment.”

Name: J’lin Rose
Age: 23 years old
Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
Major: Information Technology

“For some reason, failure seems like it’s not an option now in society. Like once you put your mind to something, it just works out without any struggle.

But the truth of the matter is, once you really get focused and passionate about something, that’s when you have to be willing to fail because that’s when you learn something new.

There’s a chance for me within my immediate family to do something big for everybody.

Going to college from out of state, I thought I could just breeze my way in. I got a reality check trying to adjust to life here. I’m doing great now, and I’m going to graduate next year with my second degree. But I’ve failed a whole lot here.

One semester I had to withdraw from two of my classes at the very, very last minute. I went through high school without repeating anything so I kept telling myself, ‘I don’t fail classes. I’ll be fine.’ I went and talked to my professor, and he was very honest and he said I had a shot (to pass), but it was going to be tough.

I made the hard decision to withdraw from those classes and finish strong with the remaining classes I had left. At the time, I was couch surfing at friends’ homes, and I felt like I was falling short in a lot of places. I realized in those moments when you fail, not only is there a life lesson to be learned, but you start learning about who you really are.

You can choose to regress where it can be comfortable and somewhat safe, or you can start pushing yourself a little bit harder. I choose to strive for greatness and try to always come about it with a positive energy and positive attitude.”