We all have heard it before, “do well in school and you will succeed ”. Our parents instilled education and hard work, among many more values, in us since we were kids.
My parents always told me that a good education would take me a long way; therefore, not going to college wasn’t an option, I had to go! Last June I graduated from college. My family was very excited and proud, but to me it was a bitter sweet moment. I am undocumented and have been living in New York City for 19 years. I did not feel like going to the commencement ceremony but ever since I started school my mother had been waiting for me to graduate. My parents and I worked hard to pay for school; they worked long hours while I worked any job I could get. They wanted to see me walk and I could not say no.
At the commencement ceremony the college president and professors spoke about what we had accomplished and how we were going to impact the world because new opportunities would open up. Senator Schumer also spoke about a new bill that would give the opportunity for low income students to pay for school but he never mentioned undocumented students.
My fellow classmates spoke about their struggles to succeed in school and their plans after college. Some of them were going to Law School, Grad School, join the Army, work and others had internships around the world.
Most of the speakers at the ceremony emphasized the job opportunities that will open up and how we would make the right choices that would affect many lives. How amazing does that sound? being able to contribute your knowledge and making a change at the same time. The college President read the school’s slogan “Educating for Justice” which is what us undocumented immigrants need “JUSTICE”.
With all the positive motivating messages that all the speakers portrayed I did not feel like they were talking to me. Everything they said would not apply to me directly after college. I won’t be able to get a job in the field that I want, I have to push back grad. school for a few semesters because I don’t qualify for financial aid.
I have played sports all of my life and I’ve learned many lessons; for example, work hard, be patient when you get the opportunity be ready to seize it. A lot of my friends tell me I compare life with sports. I do this because it teaches you to respect your opponents but when its game time you play hard and don’t let anyone stand in the way of winning.
I view this moment in my life as a preparation stage once the Dream Act passes all my preparation is going to be put to good use.
After graduating, somebody asked me what was I doing now? “I am working in construction right now and I have another part time job” I answered. They told me I wasted my time going to college if I was working in construction after graduation. I definitely did NOT waste my time in college. I learned new skills and sharpened others, it made me more conscious about world issues and how to think critically among many things.
This phrase sounds like a cliche now but it’s true and it’s what I tell everyone who tells me I’m waisting my time in school, “ no one can take your education away”.
Now I am preparing to go to Grad. School and pursue a Masters Degree in Public Administration. I am working two jobs in order to pay for school. At the end it will be worth it, nothing is sweeter than receiving a degree.
All of my fellow classmates cheered as the College President said to “follow your dreams” but not me, I have to wait a little bit longer before following my dreams, but the day will definitely come.