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  • Writer's pictureFernando A. Ceballos, P.E

Latino Struggles of Leaving to College

Updated: Apr 19, 2019

Ma! I got into A&M for engineering"!

"Oh mijo, that's great, but why don't you stay here and do your basics?"

It's crazy to think that LOVE can very easily make one of the happiest moments of your life filled with anger. I know my mom meant well and was scared of losing her son, but as a teen it was very difficult to see it that way.

It took me weeks to convince and explain to her how the system worked. Staying at my community college would have jeopardized my understanding of the fundamentals, made me lose thousands in scholarships and possibly failed to prepare me for the workload.

These were my 5 biggest concerns:


People say that a benefit of being Mexican is the family unity and the love we have for another.Although, that may be true 90% of the time, sometimes they hold you back. My mom is my rock, the person who gave me what I needed, drowned me with affection and taught me there was always away. Knowing that I would be abandoning the person that would do anything to see me happy was heartbreaking. Along with her came my little brother, grandma and chingos of tios, tias, primos and primas. It's one thing to step outside your comfort zone, but it's another to leave knowing that they all think you are an ungrateful kid for "abandoning" your family.


As much as I was going to miss them, I knew that I could always make new ones and the ones that mattered wouldn't forget about me. The ones that called me a "sell-out" would eventually come around. Yet, the ones that didn't come around simply did not belong in my life.


College isn't cheap and understanding financial aid is a beast on its own. The biggest concern was thinking how I was going to pay for everything. Thankfully I met financial aid advisers that explained it all and basically said, "don't screw up your class and you'll be alright". If only it were that easy - in the beginning I was 100% financially covered; yet I had to pick up a laughable total of 12 different side jobs in order to keep up with payments and help back at home.


If you are thinking that class is going to be hard, you are 100% right. Classes will be difficult, they will challenge you and the material will only get more demanding. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up, that I would get overwhelmed and that I would come home a failure. Yet, I didn't fully understand the amount of resilience I had in me to never back down and do what was necessary to get the job done. Trust me, if you are having worries of overcoming the fear of academic'll survive if you want it bad enough.


Depending on where you go to school and what major you pursue, there is a chance that you will not look like the people around you. That is totally OK! Know that you belong and you deserve to be there. Leaving for college is a struggle. Not just because you don't know what needs to be done or have the money to pay for deposits or cosigners - for anything, but because of the emotional and mental torment. Your feelings will shift from happy, sad, depressed, excited, anxious and that is all part of the process.

Just don't forget, no matter what may be going on, believe that it is the right decision to make. Your family wants the best for you and it takes one person to break the cycle, sacrifice a little to create a legacy.


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