Full Throttle to the Future
Before the coronavirus forced us to stay home for weeks on end, I had an entirely different routine. I’d wake up long before sunrise, go to the gym, then get ready for my day. I would attend class at Texas State University for half of the day and then go to work at a warehouse in Dripping Springs. My days were long but very productive.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I find myself sitting at home. The coronavirus has hit, and the economy is going downhill as the fear of getting infected from the virus is at an all-time high. You can sense the fear while walking through the aisles of the local grocery store, particularly when you’re looking for your favorite cereal only to find an empty shelf.
I’m not the kind of person who likes to be idle, so this quarantine has made me feel like a tiger trapped in a cage like on that Netflix show everyone has raved about — “Tiger King.” Two summers ago, my wife asked me to take a summer off and relax. I took her advice and within two weeks I found myself going crazy with boredom. I started watching a TV show called the “Optima Batteries Search for the Ultimate Street Car.” OPTIMA Batteries seeks the best street-legal performance car in America, part of the mission of the Ultimate Street Car Association. I decided I wanted to compete in this series.
By the next summer, I was learning as much as I could about road racing and driving at local track events. At the same time, I wanted to learn about social media and marketing at Texas State University and apply everything I learned to my own social media. In a short amount of time I began working with various companies and earning sponsorships.
I finally got into the swing of things in the automotive aftermarket and racing industry. I had a stacked year and it seemed like nothing was going to slow us down. That was until the coronavirus wreaked havoc. In the time it would take to snap my fingers, I went from being the busiest I have ever been to having absolutely nothing to do.
I was stuck at home just like that summer when my wife was working. I was bored just waiting for virtual classes to begin again. In the midst of the coronavirus quarantine, I started looking for internships and to my surprise I found a company that had recently moved to New Braunfels that builds cars for the series I compete in. I wondered if they needed help with social media. I had told SJMC Professor Dale Blasingame about this before and he urged me to speak to this company. I had expressed how I was trying to balance work for income and pursue my passion. He told me he would hate to see me throw my passion away and wither away in my racing team warehouse.
Now that I wasn’t working at that warehouse due to COVID-19, I figured it was time to pursue my passion again. So, with no real plan I went to the shop — JCG Restoration and Custom. I engaged the floor manager with small talk about cars and the work they had done in the past and asked what brought them to Central Texas. I asked him how they planned to spread the word about their shop and the shop manager told me social media was “the holy grail of marketing.” He also mentioned they didn’t have anyone to manage their social media. So, I took this opportunity to explain that I was a student at Texas State University. I was looking for an internship for the summer and I would love to be a part of their team. I handed him my business card and within 24 hours I was the newest member of the JCG Restoration and Custom team.
If this turns out the way I hope it does, this could be a dream job for me because it takes three things I love and marries them seamlessly. I love creating content, I love social media and marketing and I love pro touring race cars. Maybe the coronavirus slowing down my life allowed me to create an opportunity for myself. I know not everyone will have that, and I have great empathy for millions of people who are out of work. I’m an example, however, that opportunities can come from adversity.
I am not where I want to be yet, but I think the coronavirus setback has, in a weird way, pushed me in the right direction. We all may not see the good that’s coming from this, but I think once the storm passes, we will all be in a better place. These conditions are not ideal, but I am grateful.
TXST students, we want to hear from you and share your unique perspectives and experiences. How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your life? Email firstname.lastname@example.org