¿You said QUE? The Language Divide

Marie Hernandez has lived 10 miles away from Mexico her whole life. Growing up bilingual, Hernandez says sometimes she dreams in both Spanish and English. Chelsie Torres, who also grew up close to the Mexican- American border, said she’d rather speak English. David Gamboa said growing up with Spanish-speaking parents made it hard for him to understand English. According to National Public Radio, the language they choose to speak divides Latinos in America.

In a recent press release, ABC News and Univision have teamed up to create an English-language news network for Hispanics in the United States. According to The Los Angeles Times, Latinos make up 16 percent of the total population in the United States, a number that is projected to increase to 30 percent by 2050. Gamboa said he hopes this new collaboration can help him find an appreciation for English.

“I live, eat, breath the Spanish language,” he said. “But I know that if I cannot learn English my life in America will be much harder.” Hernandez said she hopes her Spanish-speaking relatives can tune in to the new network.

“I have it rather easy as a Latina,” she said. “I can speak English and Spanish fluently. Although I prefer Spanish because most my relatives speak it. I hope they can learn English through the new network. I also hope this can help break the gap between the language barrier of new Latino generations.”

Torres said both her paternal and maternal grandparents speak only Spanish. She says because she only speaks English she communicates with her grandparents through smiles and hand gestures. “It’s sad. I never learned Spanish and they never learned English,” she admits. “Now that we are both older it makes it harder to communicate.”

According to USA Today, more Spanish speakers are speaking English despite a steady influx of immigrants. “In Los Angeles County, the percentage of the Spanish-speaking population that has trouble with English slid from 21 percent in 2000 to 19.6 percent in 2005-07, the three years measured in the data released today. In El Paso, the share dropped from 32 percent to 28.5 percent,” according to USA Today.

Torres said if she cannot speak the language, she can at least know more about the culture. “I will make sure to tune in to the new network,” she said. “I will be able to understand what they are saying and learn more about my grandparents home. Hopefully, my grandparents can watch and learn more about my language.”

Fighting the College Blues

Dealing with HomeworkWhen Alexia Cisneros was five years old, she wanted a stethoscope for her birthday. At nine, she cured herself of the chickenpox, and at eleven she knew she wanted to be a pediatrician. “If you ask me how many Barbie dolls I used as practice dummies for my surgeries, you would be surprised,” Alexia said. “Ever since I could remember I’ve wanted to be a doctor.” However, when Alexia turned 17 she was hospitalized for major depression disorder.

“The summer before my junior year was the hardest time of my life,” Alexia said. “I was so involved in school and in my community. I was trying to get everything perfect for college.” Alexia spent the summer before her junior year taking two college classes, working at a restaurant, volunteering at a daycare and being involved with different student organizations.

Alexia’s mother, Blanca Cisneros, believes her daughter had put too much on her plate. She said she rarely had a conversation longer than five minutes. Cisneros said her daughter was always busy with something, but was worried this time it would be too much.

Alexia said her schedule was so tight that two months after her junior year began that she collapsed. “I was in a study group for the SAT and all of a sudden I started crying,” she said. “I think I cried for seven hours straight. I couldn’t control it. At one point, I started yelling. It was an explosion — I had hit rock bottom.”

Blanca Cisneros took her daughter to the local medical center and they admitted her right away. After several psychological tests, the doctor diagnosed Alexia with a depression disorder.“When they said she was depressed, I thought they made a mistake,” Blanca Cisneros said. “My daughter has never been sad or upset, she was always happy.” Blanca said the doctor explained that stress in females and in college-ready students can lead to depression.

Blanca Sanchez-Navarro, Supervising Counselor at Texas State University, added stress is the number one concern for students in college or getting ready to go to college. “There’s rarely one thing that can help with stress, but I can tell you to breathe and it actually can make a different and breathe well,” Sanchez- Navarro said.

Alexia said it took her several hours, but she crossed off many items off her laundry list of to-dos. After being hospitalized for eight days, she  went home and focused on her SAT and nothing else. By cutting back on her commitments and not overextending herself, she was able to de-stress. “It’s weird not being as busy as before, but I have learned how to control my stress and know what is too much for me.”