A Latina’s Viral Facebook Post Sends Message To First-Generation Students: “You cannot behave like the rest of them”
A new fall season is upon us, which means it’s time to hit the books and go back to school. For some of us, “back to school” can ignite dread, anxiety, and stress. For others, it could mean a time to reunite with friends or go full-throttle into our studies. For most of us, going back to school fuels feelings that teeter between anxiety and utter joy. It’s a confusing time, especially for those incoming freshmen Latinas that will be entering a whole new world of firsts, doubts, and loneliness.
College life isn’t just about studying for so many children who are first-generation immigrants. Instead, for many, education and the potential paths it can lead us to, weighs heavier.
Valeria Alvarado, a Texan Fulbright scholar, wrote an incredible Facebook post that highlights the hardships that first-generation Latinas will face as freshmen in college.
Alvarado, who’s currently in Serbia as an English Teaching Assistant, began her letter of advice to Latinas by saying, “You’re gonna see all the other freshmen moving in with their families, taking box after box into their rooms, while you’re standing there, alone, with your two maletas [suitcases] and backpack. It’s sucks; I know. And you’re going to be meeting so many different types of people and students. You’re going to see the other students sometimes online shopping during class. You. Can. Not. Be. Like. Them.”
“You. Can. Not. Be. Like. Them” was the overall general theme of Alvarado’s post, and it hits home for so many of us who have been in those shoes.
Alvarado’s post went live 24 hours ago and has had almost 8K shares.
She goes on to say in her post that while other students may be partying it up, and taking school for granted, Latinas have to remain focus because our life depends on this privilege of being able to go to college. There’s no slacking off in school for us, she wrote, “Estás becada y no puedes actuar como los otros.” You have a scholarship, and you cannot behave like the rest of them.
Your duty, as a first-generation Latina in college, is to help your family out of poverty. You’re able to have a college education because of their hard work and sacrifices.
Alvarado, who became a U.S. citizen in 2013 and has been an advocate for the Latinx community since the Donald Trump’s election win, noted, “This education is for you, for your papis, your siblings, your community.” She also expressed concern over your mental health which will be immensely affected by this new period in college. She reminds you, though, that you have much more strength than you know because your family has strength.
You will want to give up, she wrote. You will be frustrated, but rest assure your work in college will pay off.
It will feel like the future of your family depends on your studies, and it does. That means you have to know that your worth is what put you in college in the first place, she offered. That is what will pull you through your college days when you’re feeling frustrated and lonely.
Alvarado not only offered words that were 100 percent on point, but she also provided words of encouragement and support.
“You have people who LOVE you. You have little Latina girls that you are INSPIRING. You have abuelitos, abuelitas, tías, y tíos that BRAG about you cuando están chismeando. You have friends and neighbors that are so PROUD of you. Eres el orgullo de tu familia.”
She finished her touching post by giving tips which including a message to Latinas to call their abuela when they want to make comfort ford.
More than anything, Alvarado wants first-generation Latinas to know that their self-worth and that dedication makes us stand out above the privileged elites who take school for granted.
“You are the first, but not the last,” she wrote. “So unpack those two suitcases with pride. You are powerful.”
People loved her words of wisdom and shared their own stories of going away to college for the first time.
Ashley Cruz commented on Alvarado’s post by writing, “Oh freaaakk I remember moving to San Francisco with 4 maletas, $100 in my pocket, and no family to move me in but it is so fucking worth it.” Merrina Mendez-Itima wrote, “I seriously felt this so much! If you’re reading this you got this mama and you have a team behind you who did it before you!”
Share this with any college freshmen you know!