|Graduating Class: 2019
Minor: Chicano/Latino Studies
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA
What motivated you to pursue higher education?
At first it was always my parents. We moved to the US from Mexico when I was a kid and my parents always had very physically exhausting jobs. They obviously wanted my siblings and I to have better job prospects than they did so they almost forcefully encouraged us into being good students and getting good grades. Once I was older however, I realized how much of a strain my parents’ jobs had on their health and I knew the only way I could truly help them was by being getting a higher education so that one day I could help them retire. My main motivation is my family but at the end of the day I wouldn’t be able to do all this if it wasn’t something I wanted for myself too.
What would you like to have known coming into your first year of college?
Coming in as a freshman I would have liked to know how to study. As strange as it sounds, I never really studied in high school. No one really needed to, so when I got to UCI it was hard for me to get into the habit of studying and learning how to study the right way. As a third year I’m still learning that now but I guess that’s something that’s constantly evolving. I would have also liked to know about the great resources online and how to ask for help. Being as hard headed as I am, it took me a long time to realize that I can’t do this all by myself. It takes a lot of people to get one person to graduate and I learned that late.
What was a challenge you faced as a first generation college student and how did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge I faced coming to college was abandoning the responsibilities I had at home. Being one of the oldest I was responsible for taking care of my two younger brothers. It’s still really hard for me to leave them when I go home to visit. I also would help my mom at home a lot with the chores and the cooking so moving into a dorm room where there isn’t really anything to clean was weird for me because I felt like I was wasting time not cleaning or doing chores. I also had trouble being comfortable having time to myself since I didn’t have that at home. I felt guilty doing stuff for myself but after time all those things got easier and I learned to manage everything more efficiently.
What was a resource that helped you navigate UCI?
At the end of fall quarter my freshman year I applied for an on campus mentorship because I felt truly lost and didn’t feel at home at UCI. I was selected and honestly had the best experience while in it. My mentor was awesome and she made me feel welcome and deserving of being at UCI. She helped me with my resume, social skills, personal problems, literally everything and we got along so well. It felt more like a friendship than anything and the motivation and support I got from it were more than I could ask for. That was the best decision I made because my experiences at UCI have improved so much since then and I love it here now.