Column: Por y para ti

‘We made it, you made it.’


Laura Godinez

"It was a dream for each one of us to one day make it to a university and graduate. No matter the cost, you would make it happen, for us and yourself."

It would be in four years.

2016 marked the beginning of a four-year journey for you and for us. You didn’t know what to expect when entering college and neither did we. All that was certain was that you had been accepted into the University of Texas at Austin where you would major in arts.

Even if you were three hours away, it felt like you were miles away from us. Living in a bustling city with constant traffic and a busy family schedule led to rare visits we weren’t used to. Coming to your empty room took some time getting used to and having only four people eating at the table didn’t feel right. Still, with FaceTime and constant Facebook updates on your projects, we knew what you were accomplishing at school.

But while we knew your accomplishments, we didn’t know the pressure and stress you tried hiding the whole year.

The first year of university was rough. When the summer of 2017 came, you were crying, fighting with mom and looking like you hadn’t had a good meal in weeks. Something wasn’t right. The pressure and stress from university led to you having depression, spending most of the summer days in your room as if to sleep it away.

It wasn’t easy for you to open up about the struggles and hardships you endured. Nonetheless, we worked to find a middle ground and a better plan for the next year. We were still proud you made it, that you had worked up to that point to be accepted in a university and to achieve a dream most immigrants dream of.

As the summer of 2017 was starting to come to an end, you were left with a choice we would support no matter what.

Leave again to graduate, or stay and work here.

Mom and dad came here for a better life for us. It was a dream for each one of us to one day make it to a university and graduate. No matter the cost, they would make it happen, for us and yourself.

At the end of the summer of 2017, you left again. It was finalized. You wanted to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in arts and entertainment technologies and you were going to make that dream happen.

It would be in three years. The dream of you graduating and getting your degree would hopefully be accomplished.

It was still a rough year, but we were better at dealing with it all.

You were a bit happier and were starting to figure out your major. You sent a couple of videos, photos, light shows and projects from class. It was fun to see them all. After seeing them, we imagined you doing them in the future for a famous artist or even the Olympics opening ceremony.

We dreamed big once we saw you on your way to achieving a dream we never thought would be accomplished. It was as if there wasn’t a limit anymore, that anything could be done.

Being the children of immigrants who came to a new country, we were raised with their dreams and hopes from immigrant parents to live better lives. We thought it would be impossible, but seeing you do all those projects in college changes these thoughts to possible.

It would be in two years.

It was the halfway mark. The talk about getting closer to graduating was starting to fill most of the FaceTime conversations and family parties. It didn’t feel real that we were already here. We had more knowledge of what you were majoring in, more of your projects and photos to show off to people and family. 

But still, we couldn’t memorize what you were majoring in. It was something with lights and computers, right? Sometimes a camera is thrown in the mix. It became a running gag in the family to help lighten the mood.

We were filled with a sense of pride to show what you were doing in college, that all of the tears and stress was finally coming to an end and becoming worth it. The realization to all of us that time flew by and that the graduation was coming was hitting us like a truck.

It was happening.

We made it, you made it.

It’s in five months, and I can’t wait.

I get emotional thinking about your graduation; we all do now (even dad, though he doesn’t want to admit it). When you received a class ring a couple months ago from the university, it filled us with joy to see it. It was like seeing you already achieve graduating from the university.

Now, in five months you will graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in arts and entertainment technologies. To some, getting a degree might not be special and just another requirement to get by in life. To us, it means everything.

In five months, you will be a first generation college graduate, the first person in the family to graduate from college and achieve a dream that was passed down from immigrant parents. It is a milestone in our lives that makes me so proud to be your younger sister.

You’ve always been the first in everything, and sometimes it can be a little annoying to try and keep up with your level. This time I’m not, instead I’m delighted to see you reach a level our younger brother and I will follow.

Whenever you do something first, we always follow suit. Today, you will be a first generation college graduate. Tomorrow, we three will be first generation college graduates for our parents.

This is for you, for making the dream a reality.

Esto es por y para ti, por haciendo el sueño una realidad.