As a child, I was always asked, “What’s your dream job, or car, or house like?” I always felt like the word “dream” was associated with materialistic things, or what brought in a stable income, rather than an actual dream. We’re taught as kids to aim big, and to dream even bigger. The word “dream” to me always sounded mystical, and it is not uncommon for people to believe their dreams are so unobtainable. My dream, you ask? I’m living it. I’m a 20-year-old Latina born to immigrant parents, a first-generation university student, and a bilingual woman in the land of opportunity, and freedom. As a young girl, I would tell my parents, “One day, I’m going to go off to college, and live the life I knew I was destined for,” and I did just that. At 18 years old, I packed my childhood bedroom, and moved nearly 300 miles away to a new city, a new apartment, and a new school. My life changed before me, and incredibly quickly; I went to a high school with an enrollment total of 500 students, and within weeks, I was stepping foot onto the second biggest and most populated public university campus in the country.
The dream of education, and going off to college was something that has been in my heart for as long as I could remember. I’m incredibly blessed, and privileged to be a woman able to receive an education at such an incredible institution, however, it was never easy. After the real estate crash in 2008, my family was never the same. My parents, both in real estate, lost their jobs right as my mother announced her pregnancy. There we were, financially struggling, my little sister on the way, and a huge living arrangement shaping my life: moving in with my grandparents. Though we struggled for years, my parents always inspired me to keep going, and to appreciate the little things, because material things were never permanent. Through all the incredible ups, and the low downs, my drive to keep going, and rise to the top was never a question. My senior year of high school, I was awarded a full academic scholarship to the public institution of my dreams, and nearly 2 months after graduation, I was off to venture into a new chapter in my life; the chapter I always envisioned for myself, and the dream I sought after.
“Estudia, mija, para que no pases trabajo en tu vida, y para vivir una vida diferente,” my grandma would say to me as a young girl, meaning: “Study, my girl, so you don’t struggle in life, and so you can lead a better life.” I’m proud of my upbringing and my story; it was never easy, but I knew the life I envisioned for myself would come in due time. Hard work, dedication, and the ability to have tunnel vision towards a certain goal/dream, materialistic or not, is the perfect recipe for success in any endeavor. “Patience tastes bitter, but the aftertaste is so sweet,” a song lyric by Russ, signifying that patience is difficult, but the overwhelming feeling of success and accomplishment is far greater.
What’s next? I suppose my best is yet to come.
I am a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Health Sciences. My true passion lies in mental health awareness, being a self-love advocate, writing, music, and helping others. Mental Health and Feminism editor for SASP Chapter.