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Take Advantage Of The Little Things In Life

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) may mean nothing to the average American, but to me, it is life-changing. DACA is a program that protects those who were brought to the United States unlawfully by someone else, for example, like their parents. This keeps them from being deported and allows for them to obtain a driver’s license, a workers permit, and a higher education. If it wasn’t for DACA who knows where I would be today. I believe everyone should know how much someone’s status affects the life they live in the United States. When I was three months old my parents decided to migrate to the United States. This change, watching my parents struggle to fit in and provide for their family has shaped me into who I am today. 


I come from two immigrant parents who have constantly struggled to support my brother and I. They are the most hard-working people I know, and I am not ashamed of my family’s background. If anything, I am extremely proud. When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act was passed, my life changed drastically. The first thing that came into my mind was that I would now be able to attend college and have the resources that I need available to me. I am very disappointed to say that I was wrong about this. When I first started college it was extremely hard to find resources for undocumented students. There were little to no resources which made it difficult for me to feel welcomed. Most counselors did not know much about DACA or about the Dream Act financial aid application. I had to navigate throughout my first two years of college by myself. I am extremely proud that I was able to make it this far. I searched everywhere for resources and eventually found great ones. I want to be able to share my struggles and success with students who are also undocumented and finding it hard to navigate throughout college. I want them to know that they are not alone and that I will continue to fight for us. Being able to be at such a great university is one of my most proud academic achievements.


Yes, I may be undocumented but that does not discourage me if anything it pushes me to be successful and break the stereotypes. Being undocumented does not make me any less. Do not let the negative stereotypes about undocumented people define them for you. We are as equal to those who do have a status in the United States. We work hard, contribute just as much to the U.S., and most importantly, we are also human. There are people out there that do not have the same equal rights as others or cannot enjoy life because they are working hard labor jobs in order to be able to keep food on the table for their families. I want to encourage others to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way and to really appreciate life. 


Zaira Garcia is a first-generation student at the University of California San Diego. She is currently a third-year Marshall College student majoring in Public Health. She enjoys fashion, cooking, fitness, makeup, science, and spending time with friends and family.
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