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Alondra Guajardo

Country of Origin: Mexico

Age of Arrival: 2 years old

Hometown: San Bernardino, CA

Degree: Nutrition and Food Sciences

 

Both of my parents are fighters. They immigrated to the United States with nothing but the

hope that their children would have the opportunity to a better education and a better life. My parents

didn’t speak English and had very little education, but that didn’t stop them from searching for jobs once

they arrived in the United States. My siblings and I are currently authorized to work in the United States

under DACA, but my parents remain undocumented. Seventeen years later, they continue to make

sacrifices by working long hours and receiving low wages in order to help me and my siblings accomplish

our dreams.

 

In their eyes, they have now succeeded beyond their expectations. My twenty-eight-year-old

brother obtained his associate’s degree in Business Administration and is currently on his way to

becoming Assistant Manager at a major bank. He was the first in our family to attend college. My

twenty-three-year-old sister attends California State University San Bernardino and will graduate with

her bachelor’s degree in Nursing – the first in our family to obtain a Bachelor degree. I am also enrolled

at California State University San Bernardino, pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food

Sciences. Our opportunity for higher education makes my parents so proud, knowing that they arrived

to the United States with nothing but the clothes on their backs and aspirations in their minds.

 

I am currently a junior at California State University San Bernardino and working towards a

degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences. I wish to work in a hospital setting as a clinical dietitian before

applying to graduate school to obtain my Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. In the future I

would also like to obtain certification to specialize with eating disorder patients. Along the road, I would

love to incorporate my love of art with aspects of my career by writing and photographing my own

recipes to publish in a plant-based cookbook. Additionally, I plan to give free demonstrations on how to

cook healthy food for people with the most common medical conditions. I especially want to work on

recipes that integrate parts of my Mexican heritage and show how delicious food can also be nutritious.

 

The road to where I am today has been everything but traditional. My father left Mexico before

my mother and us in order to secure a living space for our family. I was only a few months old before he

left for the United States, unaware that it would be over a year before I would see him again. Being

separated from my father meant that my mother had to manage every expense on her own and that we

had to find a way to stay strong until my dad secured a job, living space, and enough money to give our

family a comfortable life. Two years later, my siblings and I crossed the Mexico-Arizona border without

my mother. We stayed in Arizona with a family friend before arriving to our new home in Los Angeles,

California and reuniting with our parents. When we arrived in California, we didn’t receive a warm

welcome from our relatives. They had little faith that we would be able to achieve our goals and offered

minimal guidance. Our first home was a worn down garage in Lynwood, the garage door was smashed in

and the cool air would circle the room, the fleas that infested the carpet would leave bite marks on our

arms, but my parents knew that a bright future lay ahead.

 

I don’t remember much about my early years, but one thing I know for sure was that there was

a lot of tension and sadness in our house. My mother felt helpless in an English speaking country and

constantly regretted her decision to leave Mexico. My mother and father’s relationship was falling apart

during this time. It wasn’t until nearly five months after arriving that my siblings were enrolled in school

and I in kindergarten. We didn’t stay in Los Angeles for very long, the loud city was uncomfortable and

isolating for my family. Our uncle urged us to move to San Bernardino and showed us the hospitality and

kindness that we had previously been neglected. My first day of elementary school was unforgettable

and deeply upsetting. I was enrolled in a bilingual school, where I was bullied by other students and the

teacher. I remember that she would purposely make me read aloud and would make several racist

remarks towards my mother after school. We never filed a complaint in fear that the police would get

involved and deport us. School began to get easier once I learned English and adapted to the American

culture. By age seven, I was fluent in English and eventually had trouble picking up my Spanish again.

 

Despite our rough start, I have always seen America as my home. My whole life and all of my memories

have been here and I don’t know anything else.

 

I sometimes stop to think about how my life would have turned out if my parents’ dreams would

have failed. Without an education I think I would be doing what many women in our culture are taught

to do. I imagine myself taking care of a household and married, or working part-time in a small tienda or

restaurant owned by family and neighbors. While there is nothing wrong with this lifestyle, I have always

wanted more for myself. I suppose I’ve inherited my parents’ work ethic in that sense. I have always

been determined to pursue higher education, even if it meant taking twice as long so that I could work

simultaneously to pay for my degree. Luckily, my mom found TheDream.US over a popular Spanish

newscast and immediately told me to apply. I never imagined that I would be granted the scholarship,

but I am so glad that I was given this opportunity. My hope for other undocumented students is for us to

always strive for our goals and work hard. Even though our journeys have not been easy, we are just as

deserving as anyone else and we must strive to prove that.

TheDream.US National Scholarship Applications are still open. The deadline to apply is Feb 29, 2024.

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