Prepped for the Journey and Ready to Go
By Tiffany King
Idorico Sebastiao, 22, describes himself as a "super senior" who needed more time to hone in his craft.
Sebastiao is a fifth-year senior set to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in biology, and then head to Moldova in Eastern Europe in June to teach health education with the Peace Corps.
Sebastiao is a Brunswick native and graduated from Brunswick High School in 2013. He considered the College of Coastal Georgia to be conveniently located, saying he now makes a left turn into campus rather than a right to Brunswick High.
Teaching in the Peace Corps was a path Sebastiao didn't realize he was on and at a time doubted his ability to be an educator.
"At first I said, 'I'm a general bio major, I'm not really trained to be an educator.' But I've done a lot of work through Boy Scouts of America, working with kids and younger people, and the last couple of years I've been working at Black Creek Scout Reservation. I was able to do some teaching and education, and realized that's what I'm really passionate about," Sebastiao said. "I found it interesting that I've been working towards the Peace Corps my whole life and I didn't even know that it was a goal."
Sebastiao will be formally sworn into the Peace Corps on June 4. He'll attend a three-month long language camp, then teach for two years in a local village in Moldova.
"When I'm over there, rather than stay in a dorm or apartment, I'll live with a host family. I'll work part of the day and then live with the host family, which will help me become immersed in the culture," he said.
After Moldova, Sebastiao plans to take six months off to readjust to life in the United States. He then plans to participate in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program. It is a graduate fellowship program that offers financial assistance to returned Peace Corps volunteers. He wants to earn a master's degree in education and work with AmeriCorps.
"In addition to the fellowship and my classes, I'll be able to work in an underserved community as I'm pursing my master's degree," he said. "I want to continue to give back to the community when I return."
Favorite moments at the College
Sebastiao has enjoyed watching the College and its program offerings improve.
He started at the College as a pre-professional biology major to pursue a career as a pediatrician. As he started to take upper level courses, he realized he wanted to do something different.
"I had this one professor that came in last year, Dr. Traesha Robertson, who does a lot of plant anatomy and physiology. She taught a course that was brand new about plant taxonomy and the way she taught the class and the way I learned matched up really well," he said.
He changed his major to general biology to create the type of degree he wants.
What has stood out to Sebastiao during his time at the College, is the willingness of faculty and staff to help students in and outside the classroom.
"The sheer amount of times I've gone into someone's office and said, 'Help, I need an adult' and talking through my problems with them, because they have so much wisdom, was so beneficial," he said.
He recalled spending time with former College of Coastal Georgia President Greg Aloia.
"Before President Aloia left (in 2017), I had a nice sit down meeting with him that lasted a half hour to an hour. We just talked about the good ole days," he said laughing. "My first semester was his first semester, so we talked about how much the College changed over the years."
Many of Sebastiao's favorite moments at the College was during his time as a resident assistant, from 2016 to 2017.
He recalled an incident when, while making about 150 door tags for residents at Lakeside Village, he forgot to create a tag for a resident who became upset. Vowing to resolve the issue by the next morning, he stayed up late and printed off colorful paper at 3 a.m. to make the resident feel special.
"I ended up making about 40 or 50 of these tie-dye oak leaves and put them all over the resident's door in the morning," he said laughing. "If there is anything that I got out of the RA job is that you don't do it because it's easy. You do it because you genuinely care about what you're doing and the people's lives that you're affecting."
Idorico Sebastiao stands with Norris Torres, his former boss and biology lab manager.
Sebastiao also gushed about his time as a biology lab assistant, working under former lab manager Norris Torres, now the donor relations and stewardship coordinator in the Office of Advancement. He commended Torres on how she trusted her student workers to complete their daily tasks in the lab and her constant encouragement.
"If there was time in between labs when we didn't have any work-related projects, she would allow us to study, go to a tutor, or supplemental instructor session," he said. "The ability to have a boss who understood that I was a student first and worker second was truly a blessing."
He also credits Torres for keeping him on track to finish College when he once considered giving up.
Advice to his peers
His advice to other students is to take initiative in finding what classes are required to take upper level classes. He talked of the College's flexible scheduling and the ability to pair classes with heavier loads with classes that have lighter coursework.
Sebastiao also encouraged students to go to events and network.
"Build relationships with on-campus staff and faculty. They can be a great reference when it's time to apply for a job," Sebastiao said. "Having someone speak positively of you from this institution says a lot on an application."
When Sebastiao sets foot in Moldova, one of the many things he'll miss is the people at the College, whom he considers his extended family.
"Whether it was me crashing on somebody's couch or pitching a tent in the library during finals week, I can honestly say that the College and the people are what I'm going to miss the most, and what I'll carry with me to Moldova."
Sebastiao is the middle of three children. He has two brothers, the younger of whom, Enrique, is a sophomore at the College of Coastal Georgia studying business.