I am a first generation student and Mexican-American. I am currently the administrative assistant for the Academic Success Center (ASC) and a Spanish medical interpreter for Goshen Hospital. I am also a part-time student this semester at Goshen College.

We can find many similarities through one another and our differences.

I am very thankful for the positions that I am currently able to hold. 

This is thanks to not only my own hard work and determination, but also the connections and relationships that I’ve made throughout these past four years. 

My college experience hasn’t been a straight road to success. 

I’ve had hardships in my personal life that have made it difficult to stay on track with my career goals. 

If somebody told me I would be doing this my freshman year, I wouldn’t have believed them. 

I would have asked, “How is it possible to have time for friends and family, studying and working two jobs?” 

As a freshman, it was hard to see the opportunities around me. 

Being a first generation and commuter student also made it hard to find a safe space and make new friends.

Needless to say, I felt disconnected from the campus community and felt like I didn’t belong. 

I saw residential students with large friend groups who were heavily involved on campus. I felt stuck. I had to work twice as hard to make friends. 

Even now, as a senior, I feel as though I still have to work hard to stay connected to the rest of campus outside of the commuter lounge. 

Although going to campus events, joining a club or going to the Fraker may help you meet new people, there are other things you can do as well. 

Something that played a significant role in helping me put myself out there is befriending a residential student, faculty member or someone in your class. 

I think of it as a gateway to be introduced to more people or new opportunities. 

We can’t always rely on finding people that look similar to us. 

Even though we may be different culturally or linguistically, we can find many similarities through one another and our differences. 

I thank a residential friend that I made in one of my biology classes for referring me to Goshen Hospital. 

Jesse Lowen, the assistant director of ASC, is another connection that I am thankful for, as he found a way to help me stay connected to GC when I took a semester off. 

I’ve only been able to do this by being open minded, determined to reach my goals and accepting change. 

If I could tell myself one thing as a freshman, I would tell her something that my advisor Jody Saylor said. 

I am paraphrasing,  but she told me that you are not alone and college is not going to be a solo journey because you can’t get a degree all on your own.