By Paul April 23, 2019
Age of Arrival: 4
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Degree: Business Management
I still remember the day I got the email confirming my TheDream.US Scholarship. I was apprehensive to open it. Up to that point I had gotten numerous rejections and I was afraid this was going to be one more. When I read ‘congratulations’ I couldn’t believe it. I stared in disbelief. Then tears filled my eyes. Being awarded this scholarship was life changing and I knew it meant that I would be able to accomplish my dream of graduating college.
Even now 2 years later, my eyes are filling up with tears writing this. It’s a reminder that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed, I didn’t give up and I was able to do it. I cried then because I was excited for what was to come, and I cry now because I did it. I graduated with honors from Arizona State University.
My dream job would be get into finance to help people better manage their money. I know I’ve struggled financially in the past and I’ve found most families (especially in our communities) don’t talk about money management. We are not educated enough on the topic and then just simply don’t talk about it.
I realized I was undocumented from a very young age. I would overhear my parents having conversations about being us being undocumented and how they were worried something could happen. I never truly knew what it meant. I just knew we had to be extra cautious. When I turned 16, I finally understood what “not being from here” meant – I was in a country I called home, but I didn’t have the paperwork to prove it.
DACA has helped me tremendously. I was so lost without it. I graduated high school with no clue how I would continue my education. I was afraid of telling anyone of my undocumented status because it could be risky for my family. I didn’t know who to turn to. All the scholarships I found required citizenship. I couldn’t legally get a job, so I didn’t know how I would pay for school. It seemed like there was always a ‘no’, and everything seemed to be a dead end. When I got DACA, that all changed. Everything I couldn’t do I was able to. I got a job, got my drivers license, went back to school, and overall, I felt like I was back on track. It gave me hope again.
However, the risk that Congress might not protect DREAMers fills me with uncertainty. Protecting DREAMers will benefit me, but I also care about it benefiting the country. Almost everyone I know that got DACA used it to go to school, get a job and strive for a better life. These actions contribute to a better society, stronger economy, and a more prosperous country.
To all potential TheDream.US Scholars I say, remember why you started and why you would like to finish. Enjoy the good and bad moments along the way. It is all part of the journey. Thank you to TheDream.US so much for helping me accomplish my dreams.