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.

College Experience

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…

Part I/Part II/Part III/Part IV/Part V/Part VI/Part VII/Part VIII/Part IX/Part X/Part XI/Part XII


Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy

About the Author

Jimmy Gabacho

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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