Si Se Pudo!
Graduation season is among us and we see our fellow Latinos graduating from college more than ever before.
Although receiving a degree form a Post-Secondary institution is a big deal for anyone who accomplishes it, for Latinos the sense of pride is much more compelling, given the obstacles many of us face. For many of us, like me, a University commencement ceremony is the first in the family.
For those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Daisy and I’m Francisco’s younger sister. As he has stated before in other blogs, our parents immigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles shortly before he was born in order to give us all a better life. Although my older brothers found their careers without a college education, to me it was always important to receive a degree. Ever since I can remember, I loved school and dreamt of going to college when I grew up. Exactly four years ago I received my college acceptance letters. This upcoming June I will be graduating from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.
I remember my dad working long hours for very little pay my whole life, and I remember him getting home from work tired and with little energy to do anything. Growing up he’d always tell me that if I worked hard in school, got good grades, and went to college, that I wouldn’t have to do the tough jobs he had to do, but that I’d be better off financially. That always resonated with me and I knew that if I got my degree, it would prove to my parents that sacrificing their lives in Mexico would be worth it.
Being a first generation college student was extremely difficult. I didn’t have the resources that many of my college peers did; wealthy families, a legacy of college graduates, or even English-speaking parents who could help me with little things. I felt like I had to work twice as hard as everyone else just to get into college. Being there felt even more difficult. But those long nights of staying up late to study and all those weeks I had to be away from my family when I wasn’t used to not seeing them for more than a day, were all worth it.
Next month, my parents and family will attend their first college commencement ceremony and watch me walk across the stage to receive my diploma, along with the rest of the UCR Class of 2018, and the smiles on my parents’ faces will make it all worth it.
So to all the Mexican-Americans, Latinos, first generation college students, congratulations! SI SE PUDO!
Edited and Updated: It’s been almost a year since this post was shared and we are so proud of all the new graduates this year. Everyone has started sharing their grad photos with us and it’s amazing to see that many more people wearing their flags and artesania proudly on such a huge moment in their lives. We are a force to be reckoned with, no doubt about that. “The aim of education is not knowledge, but ACTION.” Our education is valuable to us because it opens opportunities that our ancestors were not given, and that we will use to help those who are not privileged enough to receive one for whatever reason. What we do with our education is what is important, not where we got it, where our diploma is from, or if there is a lack of diploma. But graduating from college is a huge deal and something that should be celebrated, especially among our people. Congrats Class of 2019… SI SE PUDO!