Sebastian De Hoyos will be earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Following high school graduation, De Hoyos knew he wanted to further his education to become the first in his family to graduate from college. His parents encouraged him to finish his degree and ensured he understood they supported his academic journey.
De Hoyos worked retail jobs to pay for his tuition at the beginning of his college career and eventually became a student worker on campus with Recreational Sports and a member of the University’s Esports team. De Hoyos became team captain of two teams and was the in-game leader for Valorant.
“The memories from when I was part of the team will stay with me for the rest of my life. No matter the outcome, I’ll always remember the way it felt to play for a great team,” said De Hoyos.
De Hoyos became an advocate for esports on campus, making sure everyone knew that the esports community is inclusive of everyone regardless of experience level. He also shared the positive impact of esports by volunteering for community events like Region 20, a high school esports event. His goal is for students who attend the competitions to have a great time and find an interest the competitive sport.
“Seeing the students’ faces light up with joy when we got to compete was amazing,” said De Hoyos. “Creating the space for kids to perform on stage and seeing their parents alongside pro players cheer them on was an experience like no other and something I’ll never forget.”
De Hoyos’s interest in esports began in 2019 after entering local competitions for Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Despite his competitive drive, Sebastian began struggling with his mental health in February of 2020. He felt caught in a rut, leading to his withdrawal from the University for a semester.
“I had to save myself, so I withdrew, but I came back better,” recalled De Hoyos.
At the time, De Hoyos remained private about his mental health, only disclosing it to a few people he trusted. With the support of friends and the University’s Student Counseling Center, he was able to come back the next semester in full force, ready to compete and take on the academic year.
“If there is one thing that I learned while being at a low point in my life, it was that I needed to focus on occupying my time rather than sitting with my thoughts,” explained De Hoyos.
As a full-time student working with Recreational Sports, De Hoyos began competing again with the esports team. He found a sense of community with them and was surprised at how involved he became within the University.
“Staying busy and having things I was passionate about occupy my time was the best solution for my mental health,” said De Hoyos. “The friends I made at work and on the team brought me back to compete and enjoy my time as an athlete for the University. Attending Texas A&M University-San Antonio made me the person I am today.”