Meet Jorge, Manual Arts Senior & Future Harvard Freshman

Meet Jorge, Manual Arts Senior & Future Harvard Freshman

Jorge Campos has spent the last four years at Manual Arts. In the fall, he’ll travel almost 3,000 miles to move to his new home, Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he’ll spend the next four years at Harvard University.

During his time at Manual, Jorge has built quite a reputation for himself. He has also received some impressive accolades. Most recently, he was chosen from 86,000 applicants to be a Coke Scholar, receiving $20,000 towards his college tuition.

We sat down with Jorge to get a closer look at what it takes to be the brightest of the bright.

How do you feel about moving to Cambridge?

I spent a week in Boston last spring. It took me a couple days to get used to the weather. But I liked not having the sun in my face all the time. I liked wearing layers. The campus, the city, everything is so historic. None of the buildings look like anything we have in LA.

Why Harvard?

I’ve known for the last few years that I want to work with the city. I’m fascinated with city infrastructure. I thought I wanted to pursue city engineering. Then, during my summer internship for a public finance firm, I was able to work with city infrastructure, but from a whole new point of view. I was looking at how money was coming into the city, how it was influencing decisions. I was researching the billions of dollars coming to LA from South Central.

I told myself I would pursue economics. And Harvard has the best economics program in the nation.

For me, Harvard was a long shot, but I applied, and then out of nowhere, so many people started reaching out to help: Stephen Prough, from LA Promise Fund’s board [and a Harvard alum], and Robin Kurtzman, also a board member, connected me to more people, too.

What do your parents think about your move?

They’re very excited. It’s funny – they, for as long as I can remember, wanted me to stay local – not leave: UCLA, USC, Caltech. But when leaving meant Harvard, it was hard for them to disagree. They’ve always been very supportive.

What are you most excited about?

The community. Students come from all over the world. It’s a diverse social world that I’m incredibly excited to be a part of.

What are you most nervous about?

I’ve never spent more than a month or two away from my parents. I will be 3,000 miles away, and my routine, my habits, my gears will completely change. I’m excited, but also terrified.

What do you attribute your success to?

My life so far has been a puzzle – everyone I meet has had a role in my life…. I don’t think I could go back and do it all again changing a single thing.