UHV student makes time for health, community

University of Houston-Victoria student Will Villarreal is serious about his health. He works out two hours a day, five days a week at the DeTar Health Center in Victoria.

Will Villarreal
Will Villarreal

Villarreal had been struggling to find a way to juggle his UHV education classes and work while still having time to give back to the Victoria community. He found the answer at his gym when he started running.

“I really wanted to get involved in the community, but I didn’t have a lot of time,” he said. “Then, through the gym, I heard about some local 5K and 10K runs. The registration fees go to organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Hospice of South Texas.”

A few weeks ago, Villarreal ran his first 5K race. As a novice, he was surprised to find his first run easier than he anticipated.

“I’ve only been running for a couple months, and don’t get me wrong, by the end, I was tired,” he said. “But I still didn’t feel like it was challenging enough.”

He’s decided to try a 10K run, and on Dec. 19, he will race in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk benefiting the Victoria Parks and Recreation Department.

Villarreal said he’ll train in the days before the race by running a little harder and a faster each day all while trying to lower his time.

“I’m really looking forward to that race, but what I really want to do is try a marathon,” he said. “Any time I run, it’s a stress reliever for me.”

These days, he has a lot of stress. Villarreal is juggling 21 hours this semester while working as a pharmacy care representative at H-E-B Plus in Victoria. He is determined to graduate in May and start his career as a first-grade teacher.

“Thanks to the online classes at UHV, taking 21 hours isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” he said. “With online classes, you can tailor your schedule around the rest of your life. I’m just glad I found a way to take all those classes, work, stay healthy and still do something for my community.”

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler  or call 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.