Senior at East Early College High School
1. Why did you decide to join SWAG to College?
I first heard about SWAG to College through a friend, at the end of my junior year of high school. I was quite amazed since I had never heard of a program that partnered high school students with college students as mentors. I thought it was a great opportunity, especially for students that are going through the college application process alone. I decided to join and quickly discovered the amount of support the organization provided. Apart from weekly motivational texts and scholarship links from my mentor, I was able to communicate with an astonishing group of people as I joined the intern team.
2. What is one cool/fun/interesting fact about you?
An interesting fact about me is that I’m an aunt to eight nieces and nephews ranging from twenty-one to three years old. For the most part, my nieces and nephews have been the little siblings I never had. Because of the age difference between my three siblings and I, I didn’t have many people to talk to other than my nieces and nephews. Although some of them are around the same age of me, I have been able to mature at a faster rate because my determination to be a role model for them. They have pushed me to be a better image of myself in school and in my community. I aspire to be someone they look up to and feel like anything is attainable as long as they work hard for it.
3. If you have chosen your major, what advice would you give to those unsure of what to study?
Although I am unsure of what I would like to major in, I am heading towards a major in Political Science and International Relations with a minor in Latin American Studies. I discovered my passion for politics when I joined the debate team at my school during my freshman year. As I researched more about the benefits and harms of United Nation peacekeepers in third world nations and economic globalization decreasing worldwide poverty, my love for policy was quickly awaken. To those who are unsure of what to study, I would suggest applying to summer programs every summer before they graduate. I was able to apply to two summer programs last summer and fortunately was able to attend both. I took a course at the University of Houston for an architecture program and a course at Brown University about the United States and International Policy. From those two courses, I was able to get an understanding of what I would be studying once in college.
4. Who encouraged you to pursue a higher education?
The greatest motivator that has urged me to pursue education beyond high school has been my older sister, Aydee. When I was only three years old, she would take me to the front porch of my house to quiz me on numbers I needed call in case of an emergency, such as house numbers, and family numbers. I simultaneously learned how to speak English and Spanish because of her while learning colors, numbers, and the alphabet. Since I could remember, Aydee has always pushed me to learn beyond what was necessary because of the environment our parents raised us in. Both my parents came to the United States in hopes of a better future for themselves and their children. They underwent enormous struggles, but never let that stop us from obtaining an education in school. I would constantly hear from my parents, “tu educación es tu único trabajo,” meaning that my only job was to go to school. For that reason, I always pushed myself to be the best student I could be.
5. What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone in high school who is in the college application process?
As a high school student who is currently undergoing the college application process, I would advise them to get things done early. The earlier you start, the better your chances are in attending the college of your dreams. Begin writing your personal statement the summer before your senior year to relieve a bit of stress during the fall semester. Also, look into what “Early Decision” and “Early Action” are and if the colleges/universities you are looking to apply offer these options. I would also suggest to not get “senioritis.” You will be tempted to relax more with your grades, but remember that colleges will probably ask for a progress report or report card at the end of each semester. Lastly, I would suggest to simply breathe. Senior year has been filled with rapid amount of activities with lectures, homework, and extracurricular activities that I sometimes forget to live in the moment and treasure the last few experiences I’ll have with many high school friends and teachers.
6. Explain at least two goals you have set for yourself in life (it can be anything!) and how you plan to achieve these goals.
A goal I have set for myself is to eventually come back to my community and urge students to pursue higher education. I believe through programs like SWAG to College, students would be more willing to think about college and be able to rely on us to be their support system when they need help. Another goal I would hope to accomplish is to become a Child Advocate Attorney. I have witnessed a numerous amount of divorce cases involving children and the custody battle is always the hardest on the children. I hope to accomplish these goals by going to law school and passing the bar exam in the state that I am in at the time and my home state.
7. What is one piece of advice you'd give to parents with a child who is in the college application process?
My biggest advice for parents who are going through the college application process with them is to be patient. Many times, students are under immense stress and pressure to complete college essays, applications, FAFSA and the CSS Profile, apart from the regular high school courses. A problem that I have seen not only in my household, but in others is that parents question why their child needs tax information and personal information. I would urge students and parents to have a conversation about this to lessen the stress on both parties and assure parents that in order to receive the most financial aid, they have to provide their information.
8. What’s the one example you hope to set for younger family members or others?
Because I currently have eight nieces and nephews, I hope to send a precedent for them to obtain a degree in an institution of their dreams. My goal is to inspire them to get as many scholarships as possible to not end up with an enormous amount of debt once they graduate. I also hope that they aim higher than what I accomplish in my future and set their own standards for their nieces and nephews.