Breaking Stereotypes

I grew up in a small town in Colorado. I never distinguished myself from anyone else. I grew up with two parents who were basically my number one fans and I had my group of friends. 

I never thought there was anything different about who I was or where I came from, except, I wasn’t born in the United States. 

When I was 6 months old, my mom brought me to the United States, and ever since, my entire life has been here. 

Whenever anyone asked me where I was born, I never felt bad saying that I was born in Mexico. I was proud of my culture and my heritage, and I never saw anything wrong with it. 

When I went into high school, I began to notice how different I was from the rest of my friends. Everyone began to talk about college and how they were ready to party. I never thought about college just because I didn’t know what that was. All my friends would talk about what colleges their parents went to, and when it came to me, I never had an answer. 

My dad didn’t graduate high school, and my mom, she had a chance to go to college but she dropped out to be with her family. Family always comes first and she lived up to that. 

I don’t remember who I talked to about my chances of going to college, but they told me that because I was born outside of the United States I was never going to go to college. I wasn’t really heartbroken, but I really felt like I had wasted my school years studying and getting good grades just for me to not go to college. 

I gave up on my dream of going to college and having “the time of my life” as everyone called it. 

I would still talk to the college counselor at my school and just hear her out. She really believed in me and told me that I was going to get far in life. I would smile and nod but deep down I knew I wouldn’t because of my status. 

My mom had this dream of me receiving the best education that she wasn’t able to have. We would talk about what college I wanted to go to and if she was able to come visit me during breaks. I went along with it because I didn’t want to break her heart.

I was never mad at myself as much as I was then for being undocumented and for not being able to fulfill the dreams my mom had for me. 

For some reason, one day I decided to ask my college counselor about college, and if I could go. What she told me that day changed my entire life. She told me that I could, that my status did not matter. I could’ve cried right there and then. 

I began to really look at colleges my freshman and sophomore year. I began to see what I wanted to study. I began to picture myself at college. I began to picture me graduating high school, walking the stage in honor of all the hard work my mom put. I began to imagine how happy my mom would be when I received the acceptance letter from the first college I applied to. 

Of course, we don’t get everything we want. My mom wasn’t there when I walked the stage when I graduated high school. And she wasn’t there when I received my first acceptance letter. But I know she was looking down at me while everything happened.

I got into 15 different colleges throughout the United States. I broke the school record for the amount of local scholarships one student has ever received. I am now in my second year at California Lutheran University, majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology with a minor in Spanish. I received the “Rising Leader Award” my first year in college, as well as being nominated and participating in so many different things that made me love my school more. I am a Latina, I am the first in my family to go to college, and I did not have that 9 digit number that everyone else had. 

People may tell you that you won’t ever make it. So many people told me I wouldn’t make it, but so many people believe that I would. I broke the stereotypes that people had for me, and I still continue to break them. I have gone through so many downs in my life, but I haven’t let them drag me down. I keep getting back up and learning from everything that has pushed me to the ground. I am living my best life with the most amazing people supporting me, and with my mom rooting for me up in heaven.

Don’t ever let those stereotypes get to you.