Persistence Over Judgment

By: Paola B. Rodríguez Borrés

Engineering over music, that was Francis life choice. Unfortunately, not one he took, but taken for him. Francis Quiles Ojeda, 28, is an Industrial Engineer, but he wanted to be a musician.

Even though every day we hear the cliché stories about how parents force their kids to study what they thinks its right, this is a story very hard to believe for most people according to him. Even though Francis lived in Jayuya, his parents drove him for many years to Ponce and San Juan where he studied in music specialized schools throughout middle school and high school . His parent was also a musician, although it wasn’t his principal job but musicians always surrounded him.

As a child he was competing is “trova” contests and became the local infant champion, which was a family tradition. Regardless of the evident musical offspring in the family, his parents always emphasized how “musicians starve to death” in order to pressure him to study industrial or mechanical engineering.

“Plena music is very emotional, its brave, it's the voice of the boricua and it should never die.” said Francis.

“Plena music is very emotional, its brave, it’s the voice of the boricua and it should never die,” said Francis.

Francis confirms that all the decisions in the course of his life has influenced by his parents “the religious point of view, my conviction in politics, my desire to be a car racer, my music knowledge, my volunteer work for the community and all other kinds of expressions of myself are strongly influenced by them.” Even the choice of started studying in a music school he was the precision leader in the marching and concert band.

When he was kid he wanted to become a fireman, “who doesn’t?” he exclaims smiling. As a child he never dreamed he could be a famous singer, he said proudly, “seeing my dad from the backstage made me think that I could also become a musician, not the one front signing autographs and posters, but a humble one like my father.” He always knew engineering was not for him, “I like the designs ad working with plains, but I knew from the start that the only way I could make engineering as a living was canalizing it in the automotive side,” he clarified firmly.

Francis decided to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón, when he mentioned his music aspiration to his parents they reacted with sarcastic and negative comments.

After he finished he went to study music at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico at San Germán. “Why do you insist so much with the same?” was his parents’ response to his decision. Despite their disagreement, they attended his recitals and concerts to support him. He downsized his excitement sitting back on the chair to explain how after a while he had no scholarship left to pay the tuition to finish, his only options were to make a student loan or to save enough money to pay for the remaining classes, so he quit studying and started working.

Raised by music but driven to engineering Francis still feels accomplished because he has done everything he has planned. “By now, I am the singer and second guitarist in Sonora Rustica which is a rock band, the other project is, Pleneros del Paseo, which is a plena group. I sing, play the pandero, and I also am the director of the nine musicians” he gracefully explained with  joyful eyes.

“Go-kart leaded me to dream about making my own race car, so, then I thought maybe it was a nice idea to study engineering.”

“Go-karts led me to dream about making my own race car, so then I thought maybe it was a nice idea to study engineering.” Francis said.

Francis, with animated hand gestures explained how he see himself growing in the automotive business and how it was the only reason to study engineering. He eagerly expressed how he wants to continue working in his shop, doing mechanics but still he plans to keep his music projects. He now feels that he has all the things that he has dreamed about, “I am preparing my own race car, and it’s ready to roll, it will be running the championship next season.” With a self-satisfied smirk and showing the racer pictures he expressed how he wants to study auto mechanics and that his inspiration for that decision was his race car.

Francis wants to be able to open a speed shop specialized in automotive setups he needs to be certified the College of Mechanics of Puerto Rico.“I can’t say that I like more than music, it’s another kind of passion, it’s another dream.” If he had to choose again he would’ve choose music, “no doubt about it,” he said with determination.

His parents changed his life but on the other hand it could have been worse like for example a study in the Journal of Child and Family Studies “lists three elements that must be present in people’s lives for them to be happy: feeling autonomous, competent and connected to other people”. That did not happen to Francis, which is why he is an admirable young man who refused to give up. At the age of 28 Francis Quiles Ojeda owns the Saioku Motorsport Workshop and works in sales and marketing for IFCC Consultant Group.

His struggle and aspiration right now are to keep his projects running, but his parents support him and give him indirect support, adviseand push he needs in order to continue.

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