When I started college as a 17-year-old Hispanic at a predominately white university, to say I felt out of place was an understatement. I was rooming on my own, knew virtually nobody at this university with over 70,000 students, and moved seven hours away from home. It was nerve-wracking.
To make matters worse, I was depressed, and being ignored and made fun of in my classes. Classmates would talk over and around me, and professors would poke fun at me, asking if I was in the right classes and giving me the dates to drop my classes when I asked for help. In front of other students, I was simply horrified.
I felt completely out of place, I distinctly remember sobbing in my dorm room, thinking there was no way I could continue like this for the next four years. After my mid-term grades were less than satisfactory, I decided to meet with my academic advisors. I informed them I felt out of place, like I didn't belong, and I was so unhappy in my major. My freshman self was a complete puddle of tears and breaking right in front of them.
I'm very grateful they listened to me, and asked for my post-graduation plans. I informed them I was interested in attending law school, and they promptly brought in the assistant department head for our department. He walked in, gave me a quick scan, and began his line of questioning.
He asked for a quick run-down of what was going on, and gave me a very stern (and much needed) lecture, and advice on what to do next. He told me if I was truly serious about law I had to switch my major, right away. He also told me to get it together, go home and study so hard, and maybe he'd find me down the road.
It's three years later, I changed my major, and now he's my research professor.
Three years later, I changed my major, I improved my GPA substantially, have a summer internship lined up, and this assistant dean is now my professor, and just offered me to work on research with him.
During this time, I also started therapy, prioritized my family and mental health, and even my physical health. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, had surgery, and I'm now on the road to recovery. I've also been absolutely blessed with the best friends, and my amazing boyfriend.
These three years were an emotional rollercoaster. There were so many times I kept going for my family, but now I know, I need to keep going for myself. I finally feel at peace with myself and my accomplishments, and I cannot wait to start working on my law school applications.
Everything's exactly where it needs to be, and I am finally at peace.