Hey, ACP! My name is Melanie Ortega! As a daughter of immigrants, I was raised on the value of the hardships my parents embarked coming to this country for a chance at a better life and more opportunities for my siblings and I. With that in the back of my head, I knew I had to make my parents proud and work hard in school and get into a good college to show my parents that they made it and that their scarifies were worth all their troubles of coming into this unwelcoming country.
I am a first-generation brown Latina, a freshman at Whittier College. As a first-generation college student, I thought college was passing your ACT, writing a bomb college essay, and crossing your fingers in hopes of getting accepted into one of your top choices. I had no idea about the process AFTER getting accepted… all the paperwork, physical exams, financial aid, and the list continues. It has been a tough journey getting through all the paperwork to initiate the start of my life, but I am glad I had to experience this myself so I can help future generations of my family tackle the mind-boggling thing called the college process.
Throughout my life, I recognized the need to balance my priorities; adapting myself to such hardships and learning to prioritize what is important to me.
In the future, I will use the skills and experiences I’ve gained as a first-generation college student to live my life with purpose and intentionality. From the skills I’ve already developed, I am sure I can flourish in the rigorous and strenuous environment of college. Furthermore, my past continues to foster my determination and adaptation as I grow older, and my experiences in life have prepared me to adapt to many different types of situations, and have even enlightened me to believe that there is no problem that cannot be fixed with a strong mental attitude and perseverance.
I believe that a college education can help me continue building these skills that I have begun to develop. College would give me the opportunity that affords me to learn more about myself and how to better serve other first-generation college students with similar hardships and goals.