Things That Matter

While Homesickness During College Is Hard Enough As It Is, This Latino Student Explains Why It’s Been Even More Difficult For Him

Shortened preview of Ale’s Graduation from Davis along with his family for being able to join him after not being able to see them for a number of years. Thanks Jo and Jon for helping along with this!

#undocumentedunafraid #undocumedia #fuckyourborders #undocugrad

Posted by Luis VC on Sunday, June 25, 2017

After dealing with homesickness for three years, this university student was finally able to reunite with his family and the tears were endless.

At 14 years old, Alejandro Espinoza made the decision to move to the United States with his aunt and uncle to learn English and attend high school. Coming to the U.S. to pursue an education meant leaving behind his parents and two younger brothers in Guanajuato, Mexico. Even though Alejandro’s family was able to visit him in the U.S. with tourist visas, their financial situation didn’t allow for this to happen frequently. Often times, Alejandro went months and sometimes years without seeing his family.

Once Alejandro completed high school and had the opportunity to attend a university, his homesickness only got worse.

While homesickness during college is hard enough, Alejandro explains that for him it was even more difficult because he knew his family wasn’t just a car or plane ride away.

CREDIT: JOSE VASQUEZ / JOHANA MENDOZA / JONATHAN MARTINEZ / ALEJANDRO ESPINOZA

“Other people would say, ‘Oh I miss my mom, I miss my dad,’ and I missed my mom too, but it wasn’t like I could just go home and see her.

It was especially difficult when my little brothers would post pictures on social media of my family. It sucks being absent from those pictures. And then you start to realize, ‘oh shit, mi mamá ya se ve mas mayor, or mi papá ya tiene más canas,’ and it sucks.”

Even though the original plan was to go back home to his family after completing high school, college then became an opportunity Alejandro could not miss. However, this opportunity ended up costing him the relationship he once had with his brothers.

CREDIT: JOSE VASQUEZ / JOHANA MENDOZA / JONATHAN MARTINEZ / ALEJANDRO ESPINOZA

“My brother is now 16 years old, that’s how old I was when I came to the U.S. I left them when they were six and three years old and the physical change has really thrown me off.

Nothing has changed, they’re still my younger brothers and I’m still the older brother. We’ve just been absent from each other’s lives for so long that we don’t know much about each other outside of that younger brother/older brother role.”

Since Alejandro made the decision to pursue his education in the U.S., he’s carried an overwhelming amount of guilt, feeling responsible for tearing his family apart.

CREDIT: JOSE VASQUEZ / JOHANA MENDOZA / JONATHAN MARTINEZ / ALEJANDRO ESPINOZA

“When I tell you about missing their birthdays, or missing Mother’s Day, just missing anything about their life, I don’t see it as, ‘Oh well, I missed it.’ I feel like, ‘Fuck, this is your fault because you decided to stay. It’s your fault that your brothers don’t have an older brother. It’s your fault that you can’t see your mom on Mother’s Day.’

I have always blamed it on me.”

But when Alejandro saw his family arrive at the airport and was able to hug them, it was as if all of that guilt had been lifted off his shoulders.

CREDIT: JOSE VASQUEZ / JOHANA MENDOZA / JONATHAN MARTINEZ / ALEJANDRO ESPINOZA

“I was really nervous going through the airport, and through the drive to the airport.

When I saw them my body just started crying on it’s own. I didn’t think about anything. When I hugged my brother, in that moment, after crying for like 15 minutes with my brothers and parents, coming back, my body felt so relieved.

It was until that moment that I was able to get rid of that guilt, and be like, ‘They’re here now, and they’re here because they want to see what I have done.'”

However Alejandro explains that that immense guilt wouldn’t exist in the first place if “there wasn’t a border.”

CREDIT: JOSE VASQUEZ / JOHANA MENDOZA / JONATHAN MARTINEZ / ALEJANDRO ESPINOZA

“I wouldn’t have to make this decision…It wouldn’t be so hard if there wasn’t a border. Because then I could have access to my family any time I wanted.

My goals are separated from my family.

If I pursue my goals here, then I have to be away from my family. And if I stay with my family, then I have to leave my goals and dreams that I have here.”

Alejandro opens up more about this internal battle in his poem “Por lxs que están aquí, pero no lxs pueden ver” which he read during commencement.

CREDIT: ALEJANDRO ESPINOZA

Little by little, whether it is through his poetry, documented videos, or any form of art at all, Alejandro wishes to touch on this subject that harms not just himself, but students all across the U.S.

“Once people see that someone is going through similar circumstances, they don’t feel alone. The reason I do art, why I share my art, is because I always see people at the end of the video or poetry reading who are like, ‘Fuck, I thought I was alone.’”

Although Alejandro was fortunate enough to have his family present for his college graduation, they are now gone and there’s no certainty about when he will get to see them again. All of the pain, guilt, anxiety and depression that he feels because of this separation is something he will continue to highlight through his art.


To help Alejandro with his tuition as he moves on to pursue his Masters degree, donate through this link here.


READ: A Teacher Thought She Was Funny Handing Out Racist Awards To Students But No One Is Smiling Now


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Here’s Why Everyone Is Celebrating This Chicago Teen And His Acceptance To Harvard

Culture

Here’s Why Everyone Is Celebrating This Chicago Teen And His Acceptance To Harvard

YeahThatsAmado / YouTube

As Latinos, making it through higher education is never easy. For some, there is the stress of being the first in our families to attend college or just being able to afford school in general. That’s why it’s special every time we hear about a fellow Latino’s success in the classroom. 

This applies to Amado Candelario, a Harvard freshman, who is proof of overcoming barriers and following your college dreams. The world was first introduced to him last December when he shared a “reaction video” on his YouTube channel showing the exact moment he found out he was accepted into Harvard. The emotional video quickly went viral with over 33K views to this date. For Candelario, who was raised by his immigrant mother from Mexico and two sisters in West Lawn, Chicago, Harvard was always his dream. 

“There were a lot of tears shed because it’s a big thing for somebody like me, for the community that I come from, to get accepted to a prestigious university like Harvard. For that, I’m grateful,” Candelario told 7NewsBoston after his video went viral.

First, let’s rewatch Amado Candelario finding out he got accepted to Harvard.

Some people sacrifice so much to make sure they get into their dream school. There is nothing more exciting than watching that hard work pay off for someone who deserves it. The world collectively celebrated for Candelario when he found out he was going to be in the new class at Harvard.

Getting into Harvard was one thing but fast forward almost a year later and Candelario is getting well-deserved recognition once again. 

Credit: lovedcandle / Instagram

For this young man, getting to college was reason enough to celebrate. Candelario came from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago where going to college isn’t always the first choice for many. He sought higher education as a way to escape his circumstances and build a better future for himself and his family. Beyond just getting accepted to Harvard he also needed a way to pay for it. According to the school’s website, the total 2018-2019 cost of attending Harvard University without financial aid is $67,580 for tuition, room, board, and fees combined.

“I needed to figure out how to provide for myself and how I could give back to my mom and to my family that has done so much for me, and college seemed like the way to do that,” he told NBC News. “The only thing people ever talked about when you mentioned was how good it was and how it was the best post-secondary education you could get. I grew up in a lot of poverty and violence and I wanted something better for myself.”

His background and everything he overcame to be where he is has left a lasting impact.

Credit: @lovedcandle / Twitter

Being one of the few low-income and first-generation students from Chicago in his graduating class has made Candelario a viral star once again. Few in his class to understand the magnitude of his achievement and now the world is taking notice. 

“I’m the only kid at Harvard right now, class of 2023, that’s from Chicago and didn’t go to a selective enrollment school, a private school, a predominately affluent suburban school,” Candelario wrote in a tweet that has received more than 87,000 likes as of today. “I’m the only Chicago neighborhood school kid. It’s sad but I DID THAT and I’m proud of myself!!”

Candelario is defying statistics when it comes to Latinos getting into Harvard. He is one of only less than 16 percent of a total of 4.5 percent of accepted applicants that got into Harvard in 2019.

Credit: lovedcandle / Instagram

Getting to this point was never easy for him. Candelario attended Eric Solorio Academy High School, which was located on the Southwest Side of Chicago, a notoriously low-income area. It was there that he joined various programs that helped guide him through the college application process and was assisted with financial aid assistance. 

The transition to college hasn’t been easy as well for Candelario. At times he feels like an outsider in a school where he’s one of very few that fully understand what it means to come to be a first-generation college student. These emotions have only fueled him to finish what is expected to be the first of many steps. While Candelario hasn’t declared an official concentration just yet, he told NBC News that he’s interested in pursuing political science and economics. He hopes with his education he can one day become a lawyer and help those that come from marginalized backgrounds.

“I feel like for kids who come from marginalized backgrounds, being realistic can limit them,” Candelario told NBC News. “I feel like you have to dream big and tell your intentions to the world. All of high school, even as a freshman, I told people I wanted to go to Harvard. I put it in my Instagram bio, even though I wasn’t accepted. There’s something powerful about manifesting and verbalizing what you want and telling yourself you are capable of that.”

READ: JLo Totally Dragged Some Super Stars In A 1998 Interview That’s Now Going Viral And OMG The Shade

A Twitter User Shared His Cousin’s ‘Rebelde’-Themed Going Away Party And Latinos Were Here For It

Culture

A Twitter User Shared His Cousin’s ‘Rebelde’-Themed Going Away Party And Latinos Were Here For It

It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since the teen telenovelaRebelde” first aired on Televisa. At the time, who would have thought that the Mexican soap opera would become an international sensation? As a refresher, “Rebelde” was a Spanish-language soap that ran from 2004-2006 for three seasons. The story focused on Elite Way School, a prestigious Mexico City prep school. The plot revolved around a group of students trying to form a pop band (RBD). At the time, Rebelde” was Touted as “Beverly Hills: 90210” with songs.  The show was so successful that it had teens wearing loose dress-ties and short plaid skirts all across Latinidad. “Rebelde” paved the way for “Gossip Girl” and “Pretty Little Liars”, and the legacy definitely lives on. 

On Sunday, Twitter user @EseGueyBeto revealed that his cousin threw a “Rebelde”-themed going away party, proving that the dearly-departed teen soap is still very much a part of the zeitgeist.

@EseGueyBeto posted a video of the “Rebelde”-themed party, and it did not disappoint. The 16-second video shows a group of people by a pool dressed up in very authentic-looking Elite Way School uniforms. The party-goers wear maroon blazers, unbuttoned dress shirts, loosened dress ties, and skirts short enough to shock your abuela. “Dawg my cousin from Mexico had a going away Rebelde party,” @EseGueyBeto captioned his Tweet.  “I just know Mexican Twitter is here for this”. And boy, was he right. 

@EseGueyBeto followed up his Tweet with another video of the party-goers group singing “Sálvame” while waving sparklers in the air. “The answer is yes,” @EseGueyBeto said. “They did play sálvame at the end of the night”. As he also eloquently put it, everyone was ready to create a “whole ass fire hazard” in order to “be on their feels for sálvame”. Can we blame them? That definitely looks like a party we would have loved to be invited to. 

Currently, @EseGueyBeto’s tweet has racked up over 23,000 retweets and almost 80,000 likes.

Latinos flocked to the Tweet to express their admiration for the theme party. One glance at the thread shows that the video has sparked quite a few people’s imaginations — people were planning on stealing the idea for everything from quinceañera themes to Halloween costumes. The tweet reignited peoples’ interest in the rousing discography of RBD and brought a much-need dose of nostalgia to Latinos who came of age in the early 2000s. 

On @EseGueyBeto’s Twitter thread, “Rebelde” fans from all over the world are coming together to reminisce about the good-old-days, sharing their memories from 2004 and revealing how much they loved the show in their youth. It seems that the great uniter amongst Latinx countries is actually the love for “Rebelde” (the Spanish language is a close second). 

The Twitter thread seemed to reanimate RBD’s dormant fandom, and people responded to the Tweet with unparalleled enthusiasm. 

It seems that the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is ultimately true. We don’t know if the desire to attend a “Rebelde”-themed party would’ve been as strong among Latinxs back in the early 2000s, but it seems as if the passage of time has made the show a hot commodity. Back in the day, many Latinxs thought of “Rebelde” as a silly telenovela without much substance. Now, people idolize the show because it reminds them of simpler times.

This Latino made it clear that @EseGueyBeto’s tweet inspired him to throw his own party.

We have a feeling that we’re going to be seeing a lot more “Rebelde”-themed parties on the internet from now on. 

This Latina was filled with Mexican Pride at seeing a bunch of people dressed in Elite Way school uniforms.

If this doesn’t make you proud of your heritage, we don’t know what would.

This Latina was impressed by the realism of the party-goers’ outfits.

Back in the day, that forehead star was the epitome of cool. Now, our feelings are a little bit more mixed on that particular fashion statement.

This Latina explained that “Rebelde”-love was not just reserved for Mexicans.

Even though “Rebelde” was actually a remake of an Argentinian show for Mexican audiences, its appeal was widespread across Latinidad. And let’s be honest: soapy teen dramas are a universal guilty pleasure. 

As for us, we’ll definitely be keeping an eye out on social media for the inevitable “Rebelde”-themed parties that will be sweeping the nation in the next coming months. Here’s to hoping that we’ll be attending some of our own!