Graduation holds more meaning for latino parents

With graduation right around the corner, it is important to keep in mind the people who loaned us a shoulder to cry on, who sent us reminders to keep going and who value our education more than we do — our parents.

Like most immigrants, my parents came to the U.S. in search of a better life for themselves and for their kids and that is a constant reminder every time I complain about school.

Education means so much to migrant parents who work laborious, minimum wage jobs. It’s a gateway to a better life.

When my parents arrived here from Mexico in the 1980s, my mom had a sixth grade education and my dad had only completed high school. Without any higher education, my parents’ only options were to work labor jobs. My mom was a waitress and my dad worked as a furniture maker.

Roughly 82 percent of Mexican immigrants in California have a high school education or less, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Growing up, my parents always told me that I had to excel in school if I didn’t want to slave away at a labor job like they did. When their work hours stretched into the night, my mother would warn me that she didn’t want that life for me and would tell me that she worked so much so I didn’t have to.

I was always made aware of the opportunities I have — the language, the citizenship and the support of my parents to obtain a better life.

I wasn’t the only one that was pushed by my parents to further my education. My high school friends’ parents would always mention the importance of an education and would tell us to stop watching TV so that we could focus on school because that was our best bet to succeed in life.

As every graduation season comes and goes, my parents never cease to remind me that I am one step closer to achieving my dreams, which to some extent are their dreams as well.

I find myself thinking that I am doing this for myself, and I am, but most importantly I am pursuing a higher education because it would make those long work nights and early shifts worth it for my parents.

Although I’m not graduating this semester, my mom constantly reminds me that I have about one year left until that day comes and that everything that I have worked for and that she has worked for will pay off. I can hear the excitement in her voice, which makes me even more eager to graduate.

“Knowing that you will graduate soon lets me know that all those years that I’ve worked so hard was worth the weariness and the lack of sleep,” she said. “I am already so proud.”