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Okay, I Admit It, They Were Right About Going to College

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Alejandra Pernia First-generation Pharmacy Rhode Island Student Voice The Belief Gap University of Rhode Island

Okay, I Admit It, They Were Right About Going to College

Okay, I Admit It, They Were Right About Going to College

They all believed I should go to college.

I didn’t agree.

My parents and teachers were right. It took me a while to admit it.

It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I decided to listen to them and work hard in school with the hope that I would achieve my parents’ dream for me—acceptance into a four-year college.

The truth is, I was not very hardworking nor was I a respectful student during the first two years of high school. I thought that most adults didn’t seem to know what was best for me. The more they told me what they thought I should do, the less I wanted to do it.

During my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I didn’t work hard. My grades were low and my attitude was bad. I was rude to the adults in my life. Only now, as I prepare to graduate from high school next month, do I see they were all trying to help me be successful. I was lucky to have them pushing me to do the right thing. I’m glad they kept believing in me despite how difficult I made it.

The summer going into my junior year something clicked. I heard from older kids that junior year was a very important year with a heavy workload. I made a decision to change. I dedicated myself to following my parents’ advice, working hard and setting a goal.

My goal was to be accepted into the University of Rhode Island’s pharmacy program. I knew that if I could accomplish that, I’d be on my way to a future of success, one in which I’d be able to support myself and also give back to my family.

In my native Venezuela, I would not have had the opportunities I have here in America. I think it would be a bit ungrateful of me if I didn’t do everything I could to go to college. If we had stayed in Venezuela, I wouldn’t even have the opportunity to apply to the college of my choice and study whatever I wanted. My parents struggled to give me this opportunity and it would have been wrong for me to waste it.

Although my parents desperately wanted me to attend college, I couldn’t just do it for them. I needed to figure it out on my own.

After spending my junior and senior year working as hard as I could in school and on my basketball teams, I hoped that this new version of myself would be able to achieve the goal of getting into college. I got serious about my studies and treated the people who were always there for me better.

I’m so happy and grateful to report that I was accepted into the pharmacy program at URI. My parents are ecstatic and proud. And I am, too. I know that I will have to work very hard to become a licensed pharmacist but I also know that my future and my family’s future will be so much brighter if I succeed.

I’m determined to do just that.

Alejandra Pernia is a graduating senior from Paul Cuffee High School in Providence and a big basketball fan. A native of Venezuela, Alejandra will attend the University of Rhode Island’s pharmacy program this fall.
What Is the Belief Gap?Too often, students of color and those who face challenging circumstances are held to lower standards simply because of how they look or where they come from. Close the Belief Gap →

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