By Angie Sánchez
Although I was in good academic standing and my dad did not and still does not make enough money financial aid was not available. This is sad because I really wanted to become a successful and productive member of society yet I did not have the assistance needed to reach my goal. Thanks to my determination and the fact that my grandmother is a citizen I qualified for the desperately needed loan. If it was not for her I don’t think I would have been able to continue with my education. The financial aid office at the university I was going to attend also made it possible for me to actually continue my education. At first the school was not going o process my loan due to the fact that I had not filled out FAFSA. I explained to them that it was a private loan, but they still said I needed the FAFSA to be filled out. This happened a week before classes began. I was extremely devastated and fearful that my dreams to become someone in life were not going to come true. I told my advisor from my old community college about my situation and with her help I got in touch with the financial aid director at the university. We asked for an exemption and for him to approve my loan.
I wrote him letter explaining my situation. I also spoke to him on the phone explaining my situation. I implored him to approve the loan and after reviewing my case he and the financial aid committee decided to approve it. I received the news a day before my move in date to the dorms. I was ecstatic, as soon as I found out I ran to my dad crying with excitement. As an illegal immigrant I had faced other obstacles, but none had been as tough as getting my loan approved. That is when I realized how difficult it is to be illegal and not being able to do the things you want. Obstacles are a thing of every day life for everyone but it’s even worse when you are illegal.
Move in day was incredible. It was incredible because I had made it to a four year institutions through my determination and support from my family and incredible because up until the day before my academic future was uncertain. Once I was installed in my dorm room I remember looking out the window overlooking the quad and all I kept thinking was “Thank God I made it, I’m here!”
Everything was a shock to me. I was far away from home not just my family but my people, my food, television shows, everything. There were hardly any Latinos on campus and in my classes. I felt strange. Every day as I walked to class I thought to myself, “Well it is my duty as a Latina to represent and do the best I can for myself, my familia, and all Latinos.” (I think I’ve accomplished that). With time I met more Latinos and that put me at ease. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed having friends who were white, but I needed to surround myself with people who I could identify with on a cultural level. Eventually I did find friends who were Latinos and that made me feel a little better about being away from home.
To be continued…