With only a few weeks left until graduation, and even with my family reminding me, it still does not feel real that it is happening. This day will be special because I will be the first one to graduate and get a bachelor’s degree from both sides of my family. I have always imagined graduating from college since I entered high school but, I am in disbelieve that eight years have passed by so fast.
I saw it as a huge deal before but I did not find a meaning to it until my senior year of high school when I realized I need to accomplish my goals to have a better life. Growing up in a city where people are used to being comfortable and do not look beyond the city limits can make you feel out of place since you do not think similarly to them. I always felt out of place throughout my years of growing up especially being in Latino households. We bring these customs of our culture here to America and think we should continue because it’s tradition, yet we do not realize that America is a place to better ourselves.
I am not only graduating college for myself but for my family and my cousins who look up to me. I want them to know that being Latina in the business industries is not easy but, it’s also not impossible.
I grew up in a machismo environment and my father did not believe in four-year colleges. The most education we would have received, if he stayed with us, would probably be a degree from a community college and we would have to figure out a way to pay for it ourselves. I am thankful now for how things turned out because my mother has been supportive throughout these years with helping me achieve my goals so far. If it was not for her than I would definitely not be graduating this May with my fellow classmates.
My classmates have shared their stories as well and it’s surprising how much we could all relate one way or another. That is what I love about Mercy College, we get the chance to share our background and the tough situations we had to overcome to be the people who we are today.
Many of the people I graduated high school with will also be graduating this May and I could not be more proud to say that coming from a city of violence and poverty, we have made it this far. Nothing is stopping us from continuing our journey and we are not part of a simple statistic. Yet, we will always remember where we came from because, thanks to these struggles we have faced, we understand the meaning of hard work.
Although this chapter of higher education has come to an end, for now, there is still so much more to accomplish for me. I know Latinos are still lowest rank for higher education but I also know many Latinos who are graduating and pursuing bigger things for themselves. We have struggled for many years from our own families to the political views and reputations we often receive but, it does not define who we are as individuals.