I am originally from México but have lived in Washington State since I was 9 months old. When I was a high school student I quickly learned that life has its own way of surprising individuals. In 2006, as a high school sophomore, I discovered my true immigration status in the United States. I was an undocumented Mexican-American and all of my hopes and dreams seemed to shatter at that point. While my peers were applying and being accepted into colleges and universities, I felt like I had fallen behind. Higher education didn’t seem like it would be in my immediate future and I had come to accept that my life would consist of working low-paying jobs.
Although I felt there was nothing left for me, my mother was my backbone that told me otherwise. She knew that in the state of Washington students like me are able to attend college and pay in-state tuition and I am truly fortunate to have a family that has supported me through this journey. My parents came to the United States to give their children a better life, and that included an education. No matter what the price, I know I am here because of them, even when things get tough financially. I was able to find scholarships here and there but most of my tuition payments have been out-of-pocket.
I started at a community college because tuition is less expensive in comparison to a university. My intention was to receive my AA in Business Administration and stop there. However, several advisors really encouraged me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t matter that it has taken me longer to complete my degree compared to others because I know my education has and will pay off. When immigration reform does happen, I will then have an opportunity to apply my skills in the workforce without having to work in the shadows.
I am currently a senior at the University of Washington Bothell and will have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting later this year. I am a first-generation Latina student and have made it my responsibility to represent my community with pride and progress though all odds are set against me.
c cd d
I was 12 years old when I left my beautiful homeland of Guatemala and moved to the United States. My mom, brother, and I moved to Los Angeles, CA, with my extended family. We were only supposed to be living in the U.S for a year. However, that extended. I always knew I was undocumented and that I wanted to go to college but I didn’t know that not having a social security number was going to affect me.
Both of my parents attended a university in Guatemala, but were unable to finish their degrees. I knew I wanted to be the first person in my family to graduate from a university. In California, I was told that I could not go to college because I didn’t have papers. Suddenly, all of my dreams seemed that they were never going to come true. During my freshman year I decided not to do well in school because I had been told that I could not go to college. I believed there was no hope or point to try.
It took over 900 miles for me to realize that I could attend a higher education institution. In winter of 2009 I moved to Seattle, WA. I was a sophomore in high school and attended Proyecto MOLE by the Latino Youth Summit, a one-day conference in Tacoma, WA. That is where I learned I could go to college regardless of being undocumented. However, there was the problem of being able to pay for college.
During my senior year of high school I had to step up my game. I was earning good grades, taking AP and Honors classes, and doing community service. Because of my leadership and service to the community, I earned 11 scholarships with a total amount of $38,000. Thanks to this funding, I decided to say YES to the University of Washington Bothell.
I am currently a freshman pursuing a degree in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior with a minor in Education. I want to continue my education through graduate school and earn a Master of Education in the Leadership and Policies program at the University of Washington. I want to become a college access counselor to help as many undocumented and minority students as possible access higher education while being an advocate for my community.