No One Is Ever Truly Alone, Says June 2022 Student Speaker Vaughn Curioso
Navigating through life’s challenges and uncertainties, senior Vaughn Curioso said he didn’t do it alone. The graphic design student from Santa Maria in the Philippines says he received spiritual help from our Heavenly Father, support from his family and even a life-changing conversation with a refugee from Congo he met during his mission in Utah.
“I did it, but it’s not just me. I cannot attribute this success solely to my own efforts. It must have come from somewhere else, so that’s my main message,” Curioso said.
People can feel lonely at times in their lives, but they’re never truly alone, said Curioso, the student speaker for the BYU-Hawaii June 2022 launch. As part of his keynote, he says he would talk about how even though people may feel like they don’t have the support, access or opportunities they need, spiritually they can find the help and direction they seek because God is always looking. above them.
You are never alone
Growing up in a small town where his family didn’t have much and tried to get by, Curioso said his father worked in Saudi Arabia to support his family. But his father died of an illness when Curioso was 16.
However, after his father’s death, Curioso said he often felt like he was always around. He said that when he is in the temple, he feels both his Heavenly Father and his earthly Father in his life. He said that also applies to those who have lost loved ones, trying to do well in life and trying to make them proud.
While staying in the Philippines with his mother, he shared that his siblings were in faraway places to study, work and live abroad in Singapore, Qatar and Ohio.
“[My family] has this joke that my other sister who is not yet married needs to marry someone from another continent because we basically connect all nations,” Curioso said.
While having family in different places can be exciting, he said, they “often felt lonely.”
Being unemployed and having no money or connections can make people feel like their situation is impossible or unfair. He said that at some point he started losing hope and thought he could overcome it. But family and faith made all the difference for him, he said.
Curioso shared his experience with a family of professional artists, architects and product designers. Even as a young child, he says he experimented with different types of art.
But being an artist in the Philippines is not a popular choice, Curioso said. “You would be laughed at at home [because] it’s not profitable, and people would just say it’s a passion.”
Follow your heart
Curioso said he met a man during his mission in Salt Lake City, Utah who inspired him to choose a career as a graphic designer.
During his mission, he was introduced by one of his ward mission leaders to a man who is a political refugee from the Congo in Africa. The refugee offered to drive Curioso and his companion, and while he was driving he said that this man had asked what his plan was after his mission. When Curioso replied that he was still understanding, the refugee told him, “Follow your heart.”
That thought stayed with him for a long time, Curioso said, and he realized the man had come from Congo to Salt Lake City to impact his life. “I’m sure it’s God trying to speak through [him]”, he said, “and since then, that’s how I choose my career. »
He said working as a graphic designer gave him “first-hand experience with other cultures”.
Before coming to BYUH, he shared that he studied architecture for two years but realized his brain hates math.
At BYUH, he majored in graphic design because of his interest in art and culture, including aesthetics, design, and the study of symbols, but he also said he got minor in anthropology, social work and psychology.
“I really wanted to do product design before, but I learned that it’s kind of the same story with architecture with all the math and stuff,” Curioso said.
Living in an increasingly noisy society filled with increasingly competing voices, Curioso said people are losing touch with symbols and focusing on what’s around them, causing them to lose sight of the meaning of their existence.
For example, he said that today religion is becoming less important and less popular. He explained that the intersection of culture and art produces symbols. Symbols are for him the best tools of communication when they are produced by culture, that is to say people’s way of life and when their reason for being here below and art merge.
One of Curioso’s friends at BYUH, Haruya Muri, said Curioso “is a really aesthetic person. He has a philosophy about designing things, and he has some really deep thoughts. “Muri is a senior graphic design major from Okinawa, Japan, and has known Curioso for four years. They started school here together and they applied for the graphic design major at the same time.
“My goal in life is to have a simple and happy family. I wouldn’t ask for anything more,” Curioso said. He explained that it was important to him to pursue his family’s happiness. “You can achieve things in life, and you can’t do it alone. You’ll have to have that support,” he said.
He shared while working at BYUH and being exposed to a culture that’s “work, work, work, work,” and seeing people working 60 hours or more, helped him think about what’s healthy for people. families. “It may be fine to provide what you need, but in the long run, family is what matters most.”
“You know, a little more money is good. But I would rather have a happy family than anything else because family is what got me through.” He said he wouldn’t be where he is today if his family hadn’t shouldered some of the weight, pushed, trusted and never doubted his abilities.
Curioso is married to BYUH alumnus Sashalei Curioso of Samoa who majored in Pacific Island Studies and works at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
She said the first time she met her husband was at the PCC Gateway restaurant when they both worked as managers or supervisors. She said Curioso did well in grade school and high school, so she wasn’t surprised when she was asked to give a speech at BYUH’s graduation.