One Step Forward
I still remember the day I graduated from high school. It was a summer’s day back in 2010 when I walked down the aisle. I could not believe that the day had come. I still cannot believe that I am pursuing one of my wildest dreams—getting my education.
I was the first in my family to graduate from high school; I will be the first to graduate from college; and I will be the first to go to graduate school. The odds seemed stacked against me: I am a first-generation immigrant, English Language Learner, low-income, Brown kid who was born in Mexico but raised in the Boogie Down.
The degrees are nice. The titles will be boastful. However, I realized that my main goal is gaining the experience and developing network that will enable me to pull myself up by the bootstraps when I had no boots to begin with. To me, that means getting my graduate experience (not just the degree) that will prepare me to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, an educational policy maker, and an agent of systemic change. Along the way, I hope to also “pull up” those in my community. This is possible and I got my first taste at what graduate school would feel like when I entered the Graduate Center for the Futures Initiative Leadership Institute on August 14th.
Undergraduate education (let alone Graduate School) seemed impossible. I knew the CUNY Graduate Center existed. I thought it was inaccessible for people like me. Yet, there I was, occupying space and getting informed about resources that exist (for us) at the Graduate Center.
The first event of the fellowship made me feel welcome into a space that has been historically barred from people who have identifiers like mine. It’s a small act of resistance to be in that space. It’s a step towards my larger goals and I cannot wait to see what this adventure unfolds!