Jessica’s background and culture has constantly motivated her to take advantage of the resources she has available to her in order to succeed. One of the things that motivates her the most is her cousins’ situation in Mexico. They attend college in Mexico and their assignments are a lot more rigorous than they are in the United States. A lot is expected from the students, and they don’t receive any financial aid. Therefore, there is an obvious difference between the education system in developing countries and the United States. That difference is the reason why Jessica tries to do her best in her academics, and use all the resources that she finds. She understands that opportunities and resources are things that should not be disregarded. A lot of the time they are very hard to come by, and therefore should be prioritized. They make up the path for success and help one to grow as a person.
As mentioned before, Jessica is the first in her family to attend college in the United States. She is currently a student in Rice University studying computational and applied mathematics. One of the biggest struggles she has gone through was the transition from a predominantly Hispanic and Spanish speaking high school to a university filled with diversity. Even though it is a great opportunity to be in such a diverse environment, it can be difficult to maintain one’s identity and culture. When Jessica was speaking to me about this she said, “It is very difficult to talk Spanish in college, other cultures don’t understand… it is logical to our culture, not the whole world.” Jessica struggled with this sudden change, but she soon learned how to embrace the more diverse, accepting, and open environment of her campus. That friendly environment that makes one feel like a part of a family is the reason why Jessica decided to attend Rice University. Even though it may have been a struggle or a shock at first, Jessica knows that Rice University is the school for her.
Additionally, Jessica learned about SWAG to College through a Facebook page that Rice created of her whole class. She became interested in the program and realized how great of a cause it is. Jessica went to a high school where not many resources were available, “there were three general counselors for 1,000 students.” She had to figure everything out on her own, as she liked to put it, “Google became my best friend, so having a mentor would have been very helpful” SWAG to College is an organization that offers a multitude of resources to students. By giving resources to students, we are contributing to their success, fueling their abilities and helping them reach their potential. Therefore, it is crucial that students seek those resources. Jessica’s favorite part of SWAG To College is hearing all the success stories from the mentees. Students from similar backgrounds are able to see each other succeed and relate to one another’s struggles and accomplishments. Jessica finds it very powerful to see and be a part of such a strong and committed community.
In the future, Jessica wants to go into a career in the business or finance sector and continue to volunteer for organizations. She would even like to become a career counselor, to give the help and resources to students that she did not receive when she was in school. Additionally, she would love to travel, learn new languages and cultures, and continue to help in any way that she can.
- Belkis Moreno