To Latino College Students — Now Is NOT The Time To Give Up
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To Every Latino College Student This Year — Now Is Absolutely NOT The Time To Give Up

I wanted to take a semester off. I had just been admitted to the top journalism school in the nation. The reason why I didn't was to inspire all Latino students with the same problem.

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me holding a picture of my diploma with a graduation hat on
Melanie Oliva

College is hard. Studying is hard. Add being a first-generation Latino student to the equation, in Trump's America, and we "have" to stay motivated. This is all hard.

But this is where I decided to stop listing the negatives thrown at me and focus on the positives I can bring to the table. Our parents came to this country for a better life, the many sacrifices they endured, and the fears they faced is one of many reasons to continue.

Finishing up the spring semester all online, made me realize how distant I had become from my roots.

Stop stressing yourself out because you have to "do it for my parents."

Time and time again, the same answer I often see on social media or between friends, when asked why they went to college becomes quite repetitive. They do it for their parents because they owe them for coming to America years ago.

I fully respect each and every Latino that has sacrificed their lives in their homeland, to bring their children or raise them in a better place. My own mother came from Siguatepeque, Honduras before I was born, to make money for a better life for herself, my brother, and me.

The problem with always putting our parents first comes when we become overwhelmed by the pressure we placed on ourselves.

Yes. The pressure WE placed on ourselves. We have to learn to acknowledge our victories, failures, and lessons we achieved by ourselves. For me, this started when I decided to not pursue law, after years of my mother advising me I do.

I began communicating that I was unhappy studying law and I liked to write instead. That is when I chose my career before I graduated high school in 2017.

Small steps like these can have a long-lasting impact. Praise yourself for going to college, even if you dropped or failed out of a course.

This one is tough and hit right to the heart for me. I am a perfectionist at heart, I like things to flow altogether, and I hate setbacks. But guess what? College humbled me in the sense that I learned to accept my bad grades, tough critiques, and setbacks within my graduating year.

This is all a part of our journey as college students.

My advice to anyone who dropped a course, took the semester off, or failed a class last semester would be to let it go.

Do not let the overwhelming pressure and feeling overpower you. When I was struggling in a course and had to drop two in my college career (so far) I would go outside, scream, cry, and allow myself to feel whatever emotion I was feeling.

But at the same time, I would tell myself, "This is another step towards my success, towards my goals, and it is okay that I failed. I am still capable."

Remember that you are a strong, capable, and worthy Latino human being.

Something I began seeing was seeing my white friend's opportunities given to them, because they had connections.

They had parents, grandparents, or siblings who put in a good word for them.

I am not saying having connections gets you out there. I am a living testimony of getting noticed when I'm not a big deal.

I still have doubts, fears, and I am not the perfect writer. I just think we Latinos place too much pressure on ourselves because we do want to make it, for us, our family, and for our culture.

I honor those men and women who gave their all to come to the States for a better life. I hold high all DACA students who have faced so many wins and losses, but still work and study to advance.

We are all facing some battle while working and studying, but do not lose hope. There is no assigned timeline for all of us. Some of us finish faster than others, but the goal is to all make it to a place where we are happy. It may look different for each one of us.

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