“When I told my parents I had gotten into UC Davis, they both cried with joy. It was the first time I had ever seen my father shed a tear.”
Undergraduate, Sociology, UC Davis
Not many have the pleasure of being able to say they were raised in a barn! From around the ages of 5 to 16, I lived in a refurbished barn on a small plot of farmland in southern California, packed in with my five siblings.
We grew corn, peas, and other crops, which we harvested together as a family. My siblings and I would bond and play by sprinting through the tall fields of corn, loving the feel of the earth pounding against our bare feet and the burn of our lungs as we ran and laughed all the while. Growing up in so isolated and poor an area was hard at times, but my family had a way of making it work.
When I told my parents I had actually gotten into UC Davis, they both cried with joy. It was the first time I had ever seen my father shed a tear. My mother framed the acceptance email I received.
What motivated me to go to college
While I had grown up poor, it was through a high school internship working with impoverished youth that I got to see the full influence of poverty on my area. I worked with the county library to bring books to kids who couldn’t afford to buy them and didn’t have access to the library.
Seeing so many children struggle to get the basic necessities for school really had an impact on me. Those experiences further motivated me to go to college, so I could develop programs that would help kids like them.
What I would tell my freshman self
Don’t stress so much about tests and good grades. If you work hard and inspire others to do so, the important people around you can tell. While it’s great to be a successful student, if you’re a good person with full-hearted intentions, amazing opportunities will come your way, too.
How my background helped me
My father and mother always encouraged us to excel in school so we could go wherever we wanted in life and not be forced into one lifestyle. My parents had to work hard to support our large family, but my siblings and I never felt neglected. Their perseverance truly taught me the value of diligence, and of not being limited by the cards life has dealt you.
The best thing about my college experience
My favorite part of college so far has been deciding on the major I genuinely wanted. I came into college undeclared, which made the entry into UC Davis scary and uncertain at first. With time, however, I figured out exactly what my interests were. I genuinely feel excited to go to class now, knowing that I’ll be learning about something I’m truly passionate about.