Poor and traumatized at Harvard
Due Quach

College life is very difficult to transition into after having been a product of our early childhood and adolescent environment . I was shocked at how poorly I performed in college my first 2 years in Los Angeles at UCLA ! I had been so caught up in working 20–30 hours per week, spending time with friends and enjoying life that my academics were not a priority. I was raised in East Los Angeles in a community of immigrants. Teachers in local schools served as role models for those immigrant children without college educated parents. Although honors and advanced placement courses were offered my parents had almost no involvement in my curriculum! As a young Latino the only people involved in my academic life were other students mostly Asian and Latino teens struggling to figure it all out! We relied heavily on each other to motivate one another to keep fighting to get out of poverty! Although at the time we probably did not realize we lived in a poor immigrant community! By my third year at UCLA I had figured it out , my personal life had to be put aside for my academic life! The priority became spending time researching, writing, excelling in exams, and participating in study groups! Although I did not apply to graduate school , I realized how big of an accomplishment it is for children of immigrants to graduate from a major research university. We are told that we have to go to college if we want a career , but most of us end up struggling alone in the university systems! How did we make it happen ? We did not give up, we learned in childhood to overcome adversity , keep your nose in your books, stay in your lane and finish the race!

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