by Ariel Ventura-Lazo
Like many first-generation Americans, the obstacles that I was bound to face preceded me. My journey began through my experiences with failure in high school. I failed my senior year and was on the verge of dropping out, because I lacked motivation and was unclear about what was destined for me after high school. I returned the following school year and passed the classes I needed to walk at graduation. My cumulative GPA was a meager 1.6, and I did what most kids with my grades were doing, I enrolled at my local community college.
I felt intimidated by college—I was the first in my family to step foot on a college campus, and I didn’t know basic jargon like the difference between an AA and an AAS degree or what office hours were or what a TA was. I also worked full-time with inconsistencies in my work schedule that would hinder my progress in college, subsequently causing me to fail every class that semester. Like many students, I thought, “College just isn’t for me.” I would not return the following semester and dedicated all my time to being in the workforce.
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