College. It’s usually a topic most parents talk about with their children. Not a “if you go to college” conversation, but a “you’re going to college” conversation.
Throughout our youth, we struggle and achieve in school. We advance to the next grade level until we finally reach high school graduation. This is the real deal.
This is the sidewalk across the roadway to college, the goal we’ve waited to achieve.
But even through struggles and life’s obstacles, not all of us succeed to expectations. We can’t all be Greek heroes who overcome and triumph no matter what.
So now we’re filling out applications for community college. But we are not discouraged because: We. Will. Transfer.
We will get to a four-year university and we will graduate with our bachelor’s degree. And we might even apply to grad school.
We might even earn our PhD’s and go to med school or law school.
So we tackle general education courses and we fight for spots off the waitlist for classes. We even juggle one, two or even four extra-curricular activities.
We’re finally at the semester when we apply for four-year universities.
We are so close.
After college applications, financial aid forms, completing our last general education classes and applying for our transfer degrees…
The date comes. The day we’ve had in the back of our minds because it is too stressful to think about and we did not think it would come this fast.
But today is the day.
Today is the day we find out whether we have been accepted into our dream school. We put all our eggs in that school’s basket.
Yes, we applied to other schools but we are betting on that one.
So we rip through the mailbox and constantly check our junk email box for that letter.
“I didn’t get accepted into [UC Santa Barbara].”
Monica Sepulveda, 20, is a non-traditional, low-income, first-generation college student. Graduating high school well before her class, she enrolled into Sacramento City College, where she immediately immersed herself into the campus community.
She became the vice president of Student Senate and tackled student issues at the campus and state level.
Monica is a California community college EOPS (Extended Opportunities, Programs and Services) student and an AB 540 student. Assembly Bill 540 allows unprotected immigrants the opportunity to attend public university and pay in-state tuition.
It was not a comforting feeling when Monica came to me, one of her very close friends, with this information. I sat there and helped her process the disappointment, this thing that made her feel defeated.
I made sure to lift her up. I encouraged her to appeal the rejection and let them know what an outstanding student she is, what an outstanding individual — she does amazing things in and for a country that has not yet given her citizenship.
A day later, Monica comes to me with this thought: “I forgot that my immigration status probably played a role in why I didn’t get accepted into UCSB.”
For this reason, many AB 540 students feel discouraged to go to college or even apply.
As a community, it is our job to lift those around us. Students who are overly qualified should not be judged merely by their citizenship status.
Put aside opinions about illegal immigration and the benefits people from other places receive from America. Instead, look at the way America benefits from these individuals.
A lot of our produce comes from farms where migrant farmworkers work, from seedling to full-grown crop. They are elite professionals and caregivers.
Suppressing a community serves no one any good.
Stop the suppression of AB 540 students.
Americans get into all kinds of troubles during their lives. They get a chance to start over once they enter college.
Shouldn’t that opportunity be available to everyone?