Being A First Generation American Takes More Strength And Determination Than Any Job On A Resume

Being A First Generation American Takes More Strength And Determination Than Any Job On A Resume

In the end, I have to repay my mom for everything she sacrificed for me to be standing where I'm standing right now.

AlexRo
AlexRo
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My mom and dad come from the same small village in Mexico. Tuzantlan is a village within the state of Puebla, with just over 1000 inhabitants. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that there a more people from this village living in Yonkers, NY, than there are in the actual village. Tuzantlan relies on its farmable terrain to remain afloat. My grandparents from both sides of my family were all farmers. Farming is the path of most of my family members prior to my parents' generations. It is what I would be doing right now had my parents not decided to leave Tuzantlan one day with no more than 1000 pesos.

My parents met at school. They went to the same elementary school, the only school in Tuzantlan. They both had to stop going to school after the fifth grade because they had to start working. Poverty was prevalent in our family - it seemed like an endless cycle, endless until my parents' generation came about.

It was like a coming of age ritual for my family. Anytime an aunt or uncle got married, their honeymoon destination would be a one-way ticket to New York via a shady truck through the Mexican border. My mother was the youngest of 12, meaning that she was the very last one to get married and thus the last one to make it to America. She married my dad at the age of 19 and less then a month later she was in America, thriving for the success and happiness that this country had promised.

She was young, ambitious, and very naive. She had a lot to learn, not only about this country but about herself. After a couple of months of being in New York, she became pregnant with me. Five years later she became a single parent. No English, no money, no family to support her. Even with all these obstacles, not to mention the systematic oppression that she faced as a Mexican immigrant, she still became the amazing parent that she is and was able to do it all by herself.

Growing up, it never really fazed me, the fact that I didn't have a normal family. My mom worried about the risk she was taking, of being in this country as an immigrant. She worried every day that she might be deported and forced to return to a country that she no longer had any connection to. She never made this apparent to my sisters and I. It was a fear that she hid in the back of her mind, hoping that it would not affect us.

My mom had many hopes for us not only as a mother but as a mother that had faced so much adversity for us to be where we were. She never said so, but in my mind, I knew that my accomplishments would serve to validate every struggle, every part-time job, all the sweat and tears that she powered through. She expected us all to graduate high school and then to eventually graduate from college. She had no idea what this meant, being that she only went up to the fifth grade.

I was the first in my immediate family to be born in the United States. Then I became the first to graduate high school. And now I am the first to have attended college. If I were to stop right now, I would have still accomplished so much more than what is expected. As a first generation American, I have to make sure that my success and the success of my sisters is paramount.

In the end, I have to repay my mom for everything she sacrificed for me to be standing where I'm standing right now.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Spoke With A Group Of DACA Recipients And Their Stories Moved Me To Tears

An experience that forever changed my perspective on "illegal" immigrants.

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I thought I was just filming about a club meeting for a project, but when I entered the art-filled room located in a corner of the student common area, I knew this experience would be much more than a grade for a class.

I was welcomed in by a handful of people wearing various Arizona State hoodies and T-shirts that were all around my age. They were college students, like myself, but something felt different when talking to them. They were comforting, shy at first, and more driven than the peers that I usually meet.

As I began to look around the room, I noticed a good amount of art, murals, religious pieces, and a poster that read, "WE STAND WITH DREAMERS." The club was meant for students at ASU that are either undocumented or DACA recipients.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

As a U.S. citizen college student, you typically tend to think about your GPA, money, and dating. As a DACA recipient college student, there are many more issues crowding your brain. When I sat down at a club meeting for students my age dealing with entirely different problems as me, my eyes were opened to bigger issues.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program allows for individuals that crossed the border as children to be protected from deportation and to go to school or work. Commonly known as DREAMers, these individuals are some of the most hard-working, goal-oriented and focused people I have met, and that's solely because they have to be.

In order to apply to be a DACA recipient, it is required that the applicant is attending school with a high school diploma, or a military veteran, as well as have a clean criminal record. While being a DACA recipient does not mean that you can become a permanent citizen of the United States, it allows for opportunities that may not be offered in their home country.

It's no secret that the United States has dealt with immigration in a number of ways. From forming new policies to building a wall on our nation's border, we see efforts to keep immigrants from entering the U.S. every day. But what about the people who are affected?

As the club members and I began a painting activity regarding where we came from and how we got to where we are today, I began to feel the urge to cry.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

One girl described the small Mexican town that she grew up in and the family that still resides there. She went on to talk about how important education is to her family and so much so that it was the cause of her family's move to the United States when she was still a child. Her voice wavered when she talked about the changing immigration policies that prevent her from seeing her family in Mexico.

Another member of the club, a boy with goals of becoming a journalist, talked of his depression and obstacles regarding growing up as an undocumented student. Once he was told by his father that he was illegal, he began to set himself apart from his peers and became someone he did not think he would ever be.

All of my worries seemed small in comparison to theirs, and I felt a pang of regret for realizing I take my own citizenship for granted every single day.

Terminating the policy would lead to the displacement of about 800,000 people. We tend to forget about the human aspect of all of this change, but it's the most important part.

For more information about this club, visit https://www.facebook.com/USEEASU/

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