College Student

My name is Oralia Ramirez; I am 19 years old. I was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, until the age of 12. At the age of 12 my parents, my little brother, and I migrated to the United States to pursue a better life. We are nine in the family, I am the second to the last one. Ever since my parents, brother, and I migrate from Mexico to Fresno, CA, both of my parents have been farm workers. They work picking blueberry, grapes, oranges, Mandarin, lemon, garlic, and pruning grape vines. My dad has spent almost 43 years working in the fields. He works in the grape, picking fruit and pruning grape vines. My mom has spent almost seven years working in the fields. They wake up at three or four in the morning to go to work, and they arrive home at sundown. Working in the fields means working hard every day, coming back home dirty, hungry and with only a minimum wage salary. Working in the fields also means to be exposed to the bad weather. At the age of 16, I also became a farm worker. I worked in the grapes, blueberry, and garlic fields during summer vacation to help my family financially. I grew up as a migrant student, and I see my parents working hard all year long to earn money and pay their bills, rent, and food. During the school season, my brother and I didn't see my parents that much because they would always be working. The only time that my parents get a break from working on the fields is when the weather does not allow them to work, or because of health reasons. Having gone to work with my parents during the summer breaks has made me more appreciative of all the opportunities and privileges that I have. I am thankful for everything I have today due to my parents??? hard work and effort. Being a son or daughter of farm workers parents doesn???t make you think about attending college because your parents don???t have enough money to pay your college tuition. My parents didn???t know anything about FAFSA, so they will tell me when we were at work that after high school, I was going to work on the fields with them every day because they couldn???t effort the expensive college books for me to attend college. They told me that they could barely provide money to buy food and some clothes for us. There were other times when my dad used to tell me that I was going to attend college, and that he was going to buy me my books, even if sometimes he will not have food in his mouth because he said that working on the fields is too hard for a girl like me, so he wanted me to get an education and work on something better than in what they work. I told both of my parents that I was going to apply for FAFSA, and that financial aid money was going to help me pay college tuition and for textbooks, I took my parents to a workshop at high school, and that is where they understood that Financial Aid was going to help me to continue my education and pursue my dreams. When I first arrived to the United States I had many struggles throughout my life, and there are still obstacles that I need to overcome to succeed, but I am determined to obtain a college degree. An obstacle that I faced was speaking a new language. I am now a CAMP (College Assistant Migrant Program) student at Fresno State University. A program which has provided me with a lot of information and open some doors for me. I am a first-generation student at California State University, Fresno, studying nursing. My family is my motivation to continue my education and pursue my dreams. One day, I would like to be able to help the community. I want to promote health to people.

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RFDF Investors Fund
November 20, 2016


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