array(7) { ["7-8-2020"]=> int(3) ["8-2-2020"]=> int(2) ["8-3-2020"]=> int(2) ["8-4-2020"]=> int(1) ["8-5-2020"]=> int(1) ["8-6-2020"]=> int(3) ["8-7-2020"]=> int(1) }

Graduating From UC Against The Odds

by Luis Flores
Also Featured on KQED

Graduating From UC Against The Odds

by Luis Flores
Also Featured on KQED
06.02.15
06.02.15

Luis Flores

It was a bittersweet moment to graduate from UC Berkeley last month.

My degree came after a hard-fought journey that started with my application to get in. I was initially denied admission, but when I appealed with a persuasive letter about my academics with references from teachers, I was finally accepted.

It took me five years to complete my undergraduate studies. At different points I lost financial aid, or couldn’t get courses I needed. Semester after semester I would find myself overwhelmed with the responsibilities of school, and also maintaining a job to help support my family. It wasn’t easy, and things even got to a point where I questioned my ability to finish school at all.

In my experience at Berkeley, it seems that the struggle getting to the finish line is a recurring theme. One of my closest friends couldn’t continue past his sophomore year because he couldn’t get the support he needed and his family was far away. A roommate my junior year also dropped out after struggling academically. Stories like these surrounded me my five years in college while I was struggling myself.

I was lucky enough to have a support system keeping me on track including a family member — my brother — who attended Berkeley also, and graduated in 2011.

He told me about resources I wouldn’t have found on my own, like the EOP office that helps low-income and first-generation students.

Part of what kept me motivated to finish school was knowing that as a Latino student who was succeeding I was proving the numbers and the institution wrong.

I spent as little time as I could in administrative offices and as much time as I could learning from professors and my peers instead. Walking across that stage represented more than just completing my degree. For me, it was symbolic. I was never supposed to walk across that stage. I’d like to think that as I walked, I carried with me hopes and dreams of those who never got the chance to finish school and graduate.

 

Coronavirus Update to YR Media Community
Coronavirus Update to YR Media Community