I became a 13-year-old girl that was responsible for a 5-year-old brother in order to help my mother provide a better future or like she says, “para seguir adelante”. ("To move forward.") Leaving everything behind and starting anew in the United States brought its own set of challenges that helped me grow and define who I am. These challenges motivated me to work hard to achieve my dreams of obtaining a college degree despite how challenging it might be.
Coming to the United States was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I was able to be with my mother and brother, but it was also one of the hardest. Every day was a challenge, including learning a new language, being in a new country, and understanding new traditions. To add to this, I was going home each night to an empty home filled with responsibilities.
There were days when I would sit at the kitchen table and think how much I missed my mother. I always waited for the days she came home early and gave me those warm hugs that would calm my stress from school. Unfortunately, there was no other option but to face reality.
Days...weeks...months went by. My English skills got better, and I could communicate more with other people at school. My teachers were impressed by my grades, since I had only been in the United States for less than 2 years. I was thriving in all subjects, especially math, while juggling the responsibilities I had to take on at home.
Embracing a new language, pushing myself and my family to climb higher and higher. Becoming a better version of me. With this set of challenges that have come through my life, I, Nicole Rodriguez can confidently say that I am able to work hard and succeed in every challenge that comes my way.
Now, I face a different challenge created by a society in which my work ethic isn't enough for me to deserve the support I need to enter and complete college. As an immigrant currently awaiting a change in immigration status, I don't qualify for financial aid and without support, I will not be able to access the achievement that I've worked so hard to achieve these last seven years. I ask for your support in order to begin college in the fall at UMASS Boston.
UMASS Boston has graciously admitted me and has honored in state tuition. However, federal aid is out of their control. To start college in the fall, I need to raise $8,000 and $16,000 to complete my freshman year of college.