‘Be your own hero’: Former valedictorian, Yale graduate reflects on success


After having been an exceptional student the majority of her life, Andrea Mosqueda has finally reached the next step in her methodical blueprint for success: the career of her dreams.

Dream On
Pictured is Andrea Mosqueda at a NYC coffee shop.
(Courtesy photo)

Mosqueda is a former valedictorian of San Benito High (Class of 2014) and a recent graduate of Yale University (Class of ‘18). She now lives in New York City and works as an editorial assistant for Macmillan Publishers.

This isn’t serendipity or dumb luck; Mosqueda admits she has been devising this plan since she was 13.

“When I was in middle school and they asked us what we wanted to do when we grew up, I remember thinking that the only thing I liked to do a lot is read and write, so I researched online what jobs I could do that would let me do this as much as I wanted, and I came up with the idea of being an editor of books at publishing companies,” Mosqueda said.

To achieve her goal, Andrea came up with a plan: to graduate top of her class and thus get accepted to a top college. “Obviously, college is expensive, and I knew I couldn’t afford to go to an Ivy League school without a full scholarship, which meant going above and beyond in my academic pursuits to secure that financial aid.”

Plan in place, Andrea got to work. She aced her classes and excelled at her extracurriculars (including a freelance writing job with the San Benito News) to be any college’s poster child, becoming class valedictorian in the process.

Upon graduating high school, Mosqueda had already been accepted to multiple top-tier universities; apart from Yale, she had been accepted to Columbia (her original choice) as well as to the renowned New York University and University of Pennsylvania.

She chose Yale. “Higher education was the door to my dream career, and if I was going to choose a college, why not choose the best?” she recalls.

“I’m from the Valley”

Natural Habitat
Andrea Mosqueda is pictured at the SBHS library during her senior year of high school. She was photographed for being awarded the San Benito News scholarship in 2014. (SBN staff photo)

Mosqueda admits that at first, she was excited to leave San Benito with a “don’t look back” attitude, but after years away, she has come to realize how special a place the Valley is.
“It took me leaving to bring me back,” Mosqueda said. “Every day it cuts me to the bone that I’m not in the Valley giving back to the people here. This is where I started. This is my home. I owe this place everything, and I try to come back every chance I get.”

Mosqueda, however, is not losing sight of the goal she worked so ferociously for.

Professional life

Andrea Mosqueda’s writing has progressed immensely since her days freelancing for the NEWS.

Having studied English with a concentration in Creative Writing (an extremely selective concentration), she wrote her first novel during her junior year at Yale. Titled Fall Risk, the book was a young adult “dramedy” about two best friends returning home for the first time. However, citing it as “too close to home,” she decided not to publish it. Her second novel, Bad at Love, was written in three weeks during July 2018 and is currently out on submission to various publishing houses, who will ultimately decide if her lifelong dream to be a young adult novelist will become a reality.

Mosqueda said she dreams of a future in which she can return to the Valley, the hero in an epic coming home for the last time.

“As soon as I can find a way to come back and do what I like at the same time, ideally when I make it as a writer, I’ll return home.”

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Jan. 17-23, 2020 issue of the NEWS.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2020/01/20/be-your-own-hero-former-valedictorian-yale-graduate-reflects-on-success/

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