A conversation with a first generation college student

Q: How did you end up at SF State?

A: I actually never planned on going to state until the summer before I left the Coachella Valley. I applied to schools knowing I was going to leave my city, but I never did any research to see what kind of college I wanted to attend. I ended up at State, and I just think it was the universe working its magic because looking back, I would not be happy anywhere else.

San Francisco State is the absolute perfect fit for me. Taking ethnic studies for the first time in my life, joining SFSU Forensics, and meeting all of the most amazing students and professors at SFSU has been the perfect college experience. My best friend was planning on attending USF in the fall, and not necessarily knowing what I wanted, I decided to take that leap of faith and come to San Francisco at the age of 17.

Q: In what ways have you grown as a person at SF State?

A: I have grown more in my three years at State than I could ever imagine. Between school, two jobs, and my time on the debate team I have learned so much both inside and out of the classroom. Through my interactions with my best friends here at State, and the many people I have met at other universities both in and out-of-state, I know more and have the unique privilege of getting to experience so many college environments. Going to college in San Francisco is in and of itself a unique experience. Most students raise their hand when the professor asks if any of the students also work. This is admirable of course, but also speaks to how gentrified and expensive it is to live in San Francisco. That is what is so special about San Francisco State—the resilience of the students who attend. I guess that is how I have grown the most in my time here—I have learned to roll with every punch the University/institution throws at me and bounce back and never stop working toward what I want.

Q: What does it mean to you and your family for you to be the first to graduate from college?

A: To say it means a lot is the biggest understatement and does no service to the hard work that my family and I have done to get here. My grandparents and parents were all teen parents who worked long hours and numerous jobs to always provide for my brother and me. They worked hard my entire life and still do so, while always making sure I know that I am the reason they work hard. I remember even being in second grade and my parents telling every day that I am going to college. They support me in everything I do and always make sure I know I can reach any goal, even when there were many times over the past three years when I never thought I could. I’m the first to get here and I am the first to get a degree, but this degree is really for them. There is no way I would be here without them. I owe them everything for my success, and I wake up every morning thinking about how I plan to make them proud.

Q: Describe your upbringing and if your parents imagined you in college.

A: Growing up, I never thought I would move 500 miles away and thrive the way I have in the time that I have been here. My parents did though. My parents always like to tell me that before I would even fully talk I was always asking “why?” to literally everything. I always wanted to learn, and I still do. My parents did what they could with what they had and I know they always wanted to see me get this degree. From the moment I was born I am sure my parents imagined me at this point. Back home, there are no opportunities like the ones here in the city, and that is the most emotional part of all of this for me; my parents knew I would have to eventually leave, but they worked hard every day to make sure I ended up here.

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