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Articles / Majors & Careers / Searching For Support Applying to College In My Small Town

June 9, 2021

Searching For Support Applying to College In My Small Town

As a first generation student, Fatima is thankful for the friends and teachers who helped her figure out the college admissions process.

"While I was doing my applications and everything I finally realized, I finally get why people drop out, because it's so hard and stressful to try to understand and apply yourself, to go somewhere.”

Watch the video and real the full transcript below

“Hopefully once I finish college, a four-year university, I could pursue a job in the FBI, hopefully if everything goes as planned.

Okay, so my name is Fatima Huerta.

And we're at Hightower High School, where I'm a senior. I'm 17 years old, will be 18 in January though. And we've been living here - me, my parents, my family - since I was born. We've been here in Fresno. I want to travel want to get to know other places, since I've been here in Fresno for 17 years, I kind of need some, to get out there."

Can you share a challenge you faced and how it shaped you?

“So my parents are from Mexico, a small town over there, they didn't get much education, they just finished high school and that's it. They left Mexico when they were in their, I think, 20s. They came over here. They didn't know each other, they met here in the US, and they began their lives together, which was hard because they didn't know anything, no English, no background history here. So it was hard on them trying to raise us and trying to make us pursue college to focus on that without them knowing how to apply or what to do, it was just all left to us. My sister's a current freshman at another high school, in Ridge Point, and she's in ROTC, I'm the one guiding her being her guide on the way, so it's been hard on me and my whole family trying to pursue college.

There's not a lot of options here, and most students once they're finished with high school they end up either working at a fast food restaurant or, like, in carpentry, all the small jobs there. Yeah, labor type jobs, there's not a lot of options here. If you really want to get somewhere, you have to work really hard and on yourself, by yourself. Most of us are like Hispanic minorities basically and most of our parents didn't go to college or a university so we have to figure it out on our own. And while I was doing my applications and everything I finally realized, I finally get why people drop out, because it's so hard and stressful to try to understand and apply yourself, to go somewhere.”

What keeps you motivated?

“My friends influenced me with college because again, I didn't know anything. They're the ones who had older brothers and sisters. They're also the ones who told me - my mentors basically - over SATs to study. They're the ones pushing me every day, telling me you're going to do it, you're going to make it, they're going to accept you at college. So they're like my little cheerleaders on the side. Without them, I wouldn't know where to go, what to do. I didn't know about college or SAT, ACT exams till junior year, because of my teachers. My teacher, she was the one pressing us every day to sign up for SATs, to do our essays during the summer, to apply to do our FAFSA at this time, to apply for college during this time before deadlines.

I don't want to work at a fast food, not that it's a bad job. I just want to be somewhere up there. I want to make my parents proud. I want to show them that I can make it. if I make it, my sister can make it too, anyone can make it basically, not just me. And also, I want to be somewhere that I love. I want to do something every day that I'm going to enjoy. Not just an office job, or just sitting down just for the money or the paycheck. I just want to do something I love every day.”

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