The thought of achieving any sort of higher education has often been a challenging idea in my family for generations. I come from a long line of hard workers that choose to break their backs at work just to keep a roof over their families heads. No one ever finished school in my family and although my mom never went to school, during her time in an immigration detention center she pushed through to get her GED so she got out she could find a better job and show people that “Si se puede!”.
Our struggles with poverty made me not want to bother my mom with the idea of going to college but I knew early on in my life that my mom expected more of me, I was supposed to serve as the outlier to the norm in my family and bring an end to the “unachievable dream”. I wanted to be the one to further my education, and go on to do something more meaningful with my life. But the knowing I don’t have enough academically and financially obstacles my dream even though I do not want to fail my mom.
The main reason I worry is because, I do not know where I want to go from here. All my life I have never been able to give a response to that often asked question, “So Sarah, what do you want to be when you grow up?”. My mom never had an answer to that same question but it is because she never had the opportunity to live out her own life. When my mom was 18 she got pregnant with me and she had made the drastic decision to leave Mexico with only the books in her back, and a 3 month old swollen pregnancy belly. Even though the trip through the desert nearly killed her and me due to dehydration she pushed through so I would be able to receive a greater opportunity in life through a better education.
Although I do not have a straight answer to what I want to be, I do know I want to dedicate my life being a woman for others and serving all who are in need. When I think about it I guess that lingering question is part of the reason I’m writing this essay. I have accepted the fact that growing up means not always knowing who I am going to be, and that it is going to take some time before I can finally look around and think to myself, “I want to spend my life doing this”. I’ve come to a realisation that college can serve as the initiative to get me there, the place where I can begin to learn and see the world on my own terms, and take advantage of the choices I have been blessed with the ability to make.
I know my family before me could not say the same. But through college I will be able to use my freedom to study what I want to learn and pursue a career not out of necessity, but out of choice. College is my one opportunity to change not just for my myself, but to show my family that the road to higher education might seem impossible but is achievable.
Yet the thought of being the first in my family to attend college remains daunting. At times, I feel tasked with a responsibility to be the one to finally bring an end to the generation of struggle. But I have come to accept that challenge and see it as something gratifying. It is taken years of trial, but I will finally end the cycle for us. Even though the fear remains, I have come to realise that the pride outweighs.