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This Latina Blamed Her Parents For Her Lack Of Education When She Was A Teen, Now She Is Graduating From UC Berkeley And Thanking Them

Alejandra López / Facebook

Alejandra López is getting ready to graduate from University of California, Berkeley and a few weeks she wrote a powerful message on Facebook about the power of family – and the Internet loved it. Next month she will be graduating with a degree in Sociology and Social work and she told mitú that her goals include getting a Ph.D so she can become a professor. López also talked to us about her powerful Facebook post, overcoming her own obstacles, and how she used the perceptions of her family to get to where she is today.

This is Alejandra López, 23, and she is about to graduate from University of California, Berkeley.

Alejandra López / Facebook
CREDIT: Alejandra López / Facebook

López grew up in Huron, Calif., a predominately Latino town of 7,000 people about 3 hours north of Los Angeles. For López, the town she grew up in didn’t really leave her with much hope of obtaining higher education.

“The closest high school was a 45-minute bus ride, so Huron kids had to wake up extra early and get home later just to get a high school education. This was the most impactful experience that solidified my educational goals because in high school I became one of the Huron students in honors and AP classes,” López told mitú. “Going to these classes was hard because I was seen as one of the few “worthy” Huron kids to be in these top performing classes, when my other Huron peers were just as capable of excelling in these classes.”

Her parents are farmworkers and, as the photo below shows, she often goes to the fields to help her parents.

Courtesy of Alejandra López
CREDIT: Courtesy of Alejandra López

López admits that when she was younger, she was frustrated with the lack of educational opportunity and it translated into resentment towards her mother.

Courtesy of Alejandra López
CREDIT: Courtesy of Alejandra López

“We were always poor and I knew that my ticket out of all of this was education, so in a sense studying became my escape,” López explained to mitú about her longing for an education. “In those moments, I let anger and frustration out on my mom by telling her, “voy ir a la universidad porque no quiero ser mensa como tu toda mi vida,” [I’m going to university because I don’t want to be dumb like you all of my life] because I thought that she purposefully didn’t want to pursue an education. Later I learned that she only received a 3rd grade education in Mexico and had to stop because her family didn’t have the funds to continue sending her to school. Part of my lashing out was frustration and the other half was that I just didn’t really take the time to get to know my mom beyond the mom title until I started to look at higher education as an option.”

Yet, despite her own perceived block from higher education, López excelled and eventually made it to UC Berkeley. She does admit her parents always encouraged college even if her teenage self thought they didn’t.

Courtesy of Alejandra López
CREDIT: Courtesy of Alejandra López

“My parents always emphasized education. They would always tell me, “Tienes que estudiar para no trabajar en el fil como nosotros. [You have to study so you don’t work on the fields like we do.]” That always made sense to me, but it never felt comfortable because I didn’t see anything wrong with being a farmworker,”  López told mitú. “I just knew that they wanted to see me in a career that didn’t require backbreaking work, so the idea of going to college was always there.”

For López, it was a no-brainer to include her parents in her graduation photos because this is their accomplishment too.

graduation picture because my family and i are graduating from UC Berkeley. some would say it’s the #1 public…

Posted by Alejandra López on Saturday, April 22, 2017


She credits her family and their unwavering support in love as giving her the inspiration and encouragement to make it through the process of applying, selecting, and ultimately attending college. Though she does think that her parents don’t understand the full impact of going to a school like UC Berkeley.

As for how she sees her mom, well, that has totally changed.

Alejandra López / Facebook
CREDIT: Alejandra López / Facebook

“I am so proud of my mami,” López exclaimed to mitú. “My mom struggled with letting me go to UC Berkeley because I am the baby of the family, but I think that by supporting my goals she gave herself room to figure out her role in life outside of mami. When I left, I bought her a book (I think it was ‘Los Cuatro Acuerdos’ by Don Miguel Ruiz) and after that, she was hooked. She LOVES to read now and it’s been so beautiful to see her grow. She has been right by my side learning with me as well as teaching me of the things she reads, and vice versa.”

“Gracias, sin su apoyo I wouldn’t have been able to graduate,” López told mitú about what she tells her family about graduating college.

Courtesy of Alejandra López
CREDIT: Courtesy of Alejandra López

She continued: “And thank you for teaching me the importance of familia and comunidad, which have guided me outside our home. Los amo!”


READ: From the Fields to UCLA: This Success Story Will Motivate You to Chase Your Dreams

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People In The US Find It Easier To Flee The Country Than Pay Back High Student Loan Debts

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People In The US Find It Easier To Flee The Country Than Pay Back High Student Loan Debts

Joe Brusky / Flickr

Financial analysts have long predicted that the next bubble that will burst and lay damage on the economy of the United States (y por ende of the whole world) is the student debt bubble. Millions of college graduates owe so much money as a result of their graduate degrees that it will take a good amount of years before they can enjoy a clean slate, un nuevo inicio with no malditas deudas. As employment prospects grow dimmer in troubling financial times, these graduates just can’t get the jobs that will allow them to live comfortable, grow their wealth, and pay their student loans. It is a monetary bottleneck that has everyone scratching their heads. What to do? Condone debt and give people with university degrees a chance? That is sort of unfeasible, as the financial system is sustained through futures, bonds and the selling and buying of debt, so sometime, somewhere, there would be a huge hole in the system.

Some graduates are finding an alternative that is as legally tricky as it is ethically controversial: they are leaving the United States to avoid paying their debts. Some live in Europe, others look for alternative citizenships based on their heritage and some others just migrate to places like Australia, where Anglo migration (read, white migration!) is given a free pass even if their visa status is not crystal clear.

This option has sparked fiery debates on the Internet, as more and more news outlets report on members of an arguably lost generation who chose to leave rather than to live in debt. 

Vice published an article on Americans who now live almost debt-free in Europe. This happened all the way back in 2016, so this is not quite new.

Credit: @FeministGriote / Twitter

The phenomenon has been present for at least three years (could the election of POTUS be a factor, we guess?). Anyway, users such as Sister Outsider were not happy at all is that who the country is, she asked? 

Others thought that this was a very smart move because student loan debt interest rates are nearly impossible to overcome.

Credit: @Hippington / Twitter

This dude James Hipp seems to take it a bit more lightly. Well, anything goes eh?

The article sparked some seriously opposing views, despite the growing fear that millions of students will remain in debt indefinitely.

Credit: @that1laura / @Mchacon49r / Twitter

These two couldn’t possibly be farther apart in their views. One calls these “Debt Dodgers” as the VICE article called them, “selfish, entitled, and arrogant”. Meanwhile, a user who is actually wearing graduation regalia simply says that she doesn’t blame them. Perhaps she is facing similar fears and uncertainty in terms of her future in the workplace. Because let’s be honest: things are pretty grim the world over. Not to mention that there have been recent articles about people entering retirement with student loan debt left to pay.

Some people just don’t understand how someone could run from their student loans.

Credit: @xavifred / Twitter

Did Xavi dude just calls them “deadbeats”, huevonesperezosos. But sometimes these are people who actually want to work, but find little or no prospects at home and look for a better horizon. Isn’t that what the immigrant spirit is made up from?

Just last year a CNBC article set fire to Twitter over the same issue.

Credit: @airfarceone / Twitter

This user, who we assume is a conservative Internet keyboard warrior, equates debt dodgers with the young men who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War. Is this a fair comparison? Yes, they decided to get an education, but this is the core of the controversy: should education be a right or a privilege?

Should some people just not go to college? @AlephBlog seems to think so.

Credit: @AlephBlog / Twitter

The CNBN article told the story of a graduate in debt who now lives in India, caring for elephants. User David Merkel simply says that these people should not go to college at all. Is he right? His savage judgment evidences a worldview in black and white. Obviously, people don’t want to leave.

No one asked them to go to university? Well, things are a bit more complicated than that, @TeresaGillia.

Credit: @TeresaGillia / Twitter

The contemporary social and financial status quo demands that young people acquire skills in information management and professional work. Manual work in the United States is generally underpaid, so if folk want to get ahead in life a university education seems to be the only way. So the choice is limited: yes, young people can choose not to go to university, but in doing so are risking not advancing in life, in monetary terms. But what happens when people get a degree, work hard and still see no descanso in sight?

User Jim Robinson has a point: the banks and other financial institutions are also to blame.

Credit: @ThatJimR / Twitter

Just as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis revealed (you can see it explained with peras y manzanas in the movie The Big Short), the addiction to debt and the trigger happy nature of the banking system has generated a lot of immediate wealth that ultimately leads to financial ruin. Banks have chosen to loan so much money knowing that students won’t be able to pay it back, that their bad decisions have come to bite everyone en el culo. Jim Robinson is right: some loans are indiscriminate. These financial practices border criminality de cuello blanco

Student debt has been on everyone’s mind this past month, ever since this billionaire wiped off the debt of an entire graduating class.

Credit: @ijsvv / Twitter

It might seem to be the feel-good story of the month, but the fact that Robert F. Smith made this magnificent donation and gave a whole class of students an Oprah-like moment is more like the symptom of a broken system, rather than a sign of pure goodwill. He must have looked at all those young people, mostly Black, and knew that they would face a lot of hardship unless he interfered, that the joy of graduation would soon turn into the darkness of precarious financial prospects.

Let’s get some context on the current political climate: this tweet sort of sums up what many are facing.

Credit: @rideatdawn/ Twiter

At the other end of the political spectrum, we find another millionaire, Betsy DeVos, the US Secretary of Education, who is actually cutting the budget for debt forgiveness. This tweet captures the feeling that many are having at the moment: any life-changing step (such as having kids or buying a house) is stalled due to the lack of support that the government is able or willing to give to those taking their first steps into adult life. What is the solution?

 The “Debt dodger” controversy got new traction a few days ago.

Credit: @lany891 / Twitter

New reports point to a spike to this trend, and the conversation has gained momentum given the prominence that the student debt crisis has had leading to the presidential election next year. This user references the plan drawn by Dem presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who proposes to wipe out student debt by taxing the wealthy. According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll, 56% of registered voters support the Massachusetts senator’s proposal. It is hard to judge either side, but something’s gotta give and the student debt crisis will either puncture or strengthen the idea of the American Dream (our take, solidarity is always best).

READ: The SATs Have A Problematic And Racist History Fueled By The Creator Of The Test Who Praised Eugenics And Racial Separation

This Man Graduated From College At 58 Years Old After Working As A Farmworker Who Immigrated From Mexico

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This Man Graduated From College At 58 Years Old After Working As A Farmworker Who Immigrated From Mexico

csumb / Instagram

During this graduation season, we love to hear about first-time college graduates, especially from those who are children of immigrants. It’s so inspiring to read how so many of these people worked hard to make their parents proud, especially because they worked even harder to give their children a better life. In very few cases, it’s not just their children who are graduating but the parents themselves.

Fifty-eight-year-old Adolfo González, a farmworker who used to pick celery, earned his bachelor’s degree from the California State University, Monterey Bay.

Twitter/@ThinkMexican

González, an indigenous immigrant from Mexico, worked in agriculture for years in Salinas Valley, California but always dreamed about going back to school. According to The Californian, González went back to nigh school to learn English. But even while continuing his studies, he never forgot his roots.

“I think it’s very important to learn our indigenous language because it’s part of our culture,” he told the publication. “It’s part of our identity.”

González graduated early and with honors a year after his daughter got her college degree as well.

Twitter/@TUSK81

“The most important thing for me is not what I’m doing now,” he told the publication. “The most important thing to me is to inspire people to do the same thing I did, because, como dijo Cesar Chavez, ‘Si se puede.'”

His journey and story to get to that stage are inspiring everyone who is reading about him on social media.

The “Si Se Puede” motto can take us all the way to the top. Not only does it inspire us to reach for the best that we can be, it also reminds us of how far we’ve come.

His story is proof that determination is the most important part of anyone’s journey.

“I took the decision to come to the United States like everybody does, because it’s the only way we can support our family,” he said. “I always promised to my mom ‘I will buy you a house,’ and I did it.”

He pursued an education so that he could continue to help his community.

Who wouldn’t want someone this passionate as their teacher? He is going to change the lives and thoughts of so many people. He is the kind of people we need to become educators to spark that love of education in others.

Big congratulations to Adolfo and his unending determination to become the best version of himself that he could be.

He will be like another Mr. Escalante. At least we can all hope that he will be the next big teacher to change lives one class at a time.

Congratulations, Adolfo González.

Share your touching graduation stories with us on social media using #MituGraduate.

READ: She Dropped Out Of High School When She Got Pregnant And Her Farm Working Parents Gave Her All The Advice She Needed To Get A Master’s

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