By Gaby Pacheco May 22, 2018
Isabel , 19, from Georgia, born in Mexico
I still remember the expression on my father’s face when my siblings and I finally arrived in America. It was priceless, and my mother’s face was just flooded with relief. The incredible, strenuous, and draining journey that we went through was reflected in our dirty faces and clothes. I am part of a big family of seven — my mother, my father, and us five children. If I had to describe my family in one word it would be “fighters.” I do not remember much about our journey here but the few things that I do remember, I will never forget. Now that I am older and am able to more deeply understand and reflect on serious matters, I am so thankful to be one of the lucky ones to make it here alive. It was not an easy path, to say the least, but in the end the reward of a better life outweighs all the risks that we took to get here. Adjusting to life in America was hard at first; of course, adjusting to anything new in life is more often than not difficult. When I moved away from the only place that I had ever known in my entire seven years of life up to that point, it was understandable that I would have a challenging time. From this adjustment, though, I believe that, as I grow up, I will keep adjusting to new things my whole life, and it will remain difficult but not impossible. I think this mindset will continue to serve me well as a college student and member of society throughout my life. Even though learning a new language was difficult, that was probably not the hardest adjustment that I went through that first year. The hardest thing was realizing what it really was like to live in the United States as an undocumented person. As is true for most any other undocumented parents, my parents had to work almost every day and night in order to provide us with a roof over our heads and food on the table. As I grew up, I realized that many people in Mexico idealize the American dream. To this day, many people in Mexico believe that all those who live here are loaded with money, jewelry, cars, and other symbols of wealth and luxury you might see on TV. The reality is that being undocumented makes many things very hard, especially becoming wealthy or even financially stable. We, as undocumented people, sometimes must work harder to get where we want to be. My parents had to take jobs with minimum wage for so long simply because they lacked paperwork. My siblings and I, excluding my sister, all have DACA. As for my parents, it took 15 years for them to finally get out of the shadows and stop living in fear when they received work permits about two years ago. They both had to suffer through so much to finally obtain it. After graduating from high school, I took two full time jobs with the intention of saving enough money for college. Even with a whole year’s worth of saving I couldn’t afford it. At some point, I thought that I would never be able to go to college, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and soon I was able to see it. The opportunity was given to me in the form of this scholarship and I am committed to getting as much as I possibly can out of it. After my college graduation, I hope to get closer to the undocumented community and help them. Someday, I want to help students apply for college and tell them about my experience and the opportunities they can have if they commit to working hard and believing in themselves. I also hope to become a registered nurse and help my community in the healthcare field. TheDream.US scholarship has helped me realize these dreams of mine. I can’t wait to get started.