Diary of a College Graduate: The End of a Five-Year JourneyFor the past five years, I have been a college student majoring in Spanish and minoring in Education. This May, my journey ended because I finally graduated and received my Bachelor of Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Looking Up to a Role Model
I was encouraged to pursue a college degree by my sister who has a degree in Bilingual Education and by my cousins who have received degrees in Business Administration and Psychology. They are my role models and I wanted to follow the example they set for me. When classes got tough, I always thought of them. I would say to myself, “If they were able to do it, so will I!” I also thought of the statistics everyone talks about. I wanted to be among the more than one million students to graduate college each year, and I wanted to increase the number of Latinos with a college degree.
The Start of My Journey
When I started college, one of the first big decisions I had to make was picking a major. After looking through all the different majors UTEP offered, I opted to choose a degree with the College of Liberal Arts. I decided to major in Spanish because I enjoy reading, writing and the culture behind the language. I chose to minor in education because it seems that not very many people in younger generations speak the language anymore. By teaching, I may encourage these younger generations to keep speaking and learning it.
Making the Transition to College
The hardest semesters were the first ones where I had to take basic courses, like history and science. I these big classes, I felt like students were just a number. Instead of working one-on-one or with a smaller group of students, professors mostly gave lectures and students. I had to learn to take the best notes possible to keep up with the lectures and to maintain a schedule to stay current with the readings from the textbooks.
Life During College
The next three years got a little better. I began taking writing and literature courses, which I was looking forward to. I had a great college experience. Each semester, I took four classes, and I worked part-time as a tutor at middle and high schools. I got the opportunity to learn about various topics such as linguistics, revising and editing, Latin music, women’s studies, theater, and even a new language, Portuguese. College offers a wide variety of courses that match just about every student’s interests.
Getting Ready for a Career I Love
During my student teaching, I confirmed my love in a future career as a bilingual educator. I was assigned to teach four non-native classes which included about 100 students total. Many of these students shared the same Mexican-American background with me and most of them grew up around Spanish speakers. However, when they started school, they decided to focus on speaking only English. It was then that I realized that I wanted to try to make a change and I knew that wanting to teach Spanish was a good decision.
The End of My Journey
My graduation was on May 12th. I became the sixth person to graduate from college in my extended family. According to the UTEP website, my degree was one of the more than 2,500 degrees awarded during the commencement ceremonies.
College Tips from a College Graduate
According to the Website CollegeAndCareers.com, the average number of college graduates per year is 1,750,000, which is only 42 percent of students enrolled in college and 4-year universities. Of that 42 percent, only 19.2 percent are Latinos. The Latino population continues to grow each day which means that the younger generations have the power to increase graduation rates in the near future. It is a good idea to keep up a good grade point average (GPA) throughout high school, to begin applying for scholarships early and applying for grants.
Is College Worth It?
A college education can open doors for those who pursue it. A college degree is something to be proud of because it is a great accomplishment. Take advantage of every door that opens because all those opportunities will build up your success. All the hard work you put into your education will pay off in the end. Congratulations to all the graduates.