I learned to live as an American before the memories of my homeland solidified into a permanent impression. My mother tongue was forgotten as I learned to speak English, weakening the profound virtuosity of my heritage and re-shaping my family’s mannerisms and grandiose personalities. In pursuing the American Dream, my parents not only offered their lives, but also their youngest daughter.
In spite of losing my ancestors’ that both defined me and were unknown to me, I have fought for the new self I have built up from the ashes of the broken dreams they tried to burn down. While in community college, I steadfastly held the distinction of a Dean’s List scholar and successfully completed the requirements for earning an Honors Certificate, by completing eight Honors courses. I held the merit of being inducted into an honors society, Phi Theta Kappa, and was appointed president of the Alpha Beta Gamma chapter the following year, all the while working full time at an animal hospital.
I poured the desperation I felt over being denied my education at the top research schools in Georgia into my school and work: I rose to the position of manager at the animal hospital and was the sole student awarded the distinction of Student of the Year in Biology out of the total college population of 21,000+ students. I encouraged my chapter of PTK to rise higher than ever before, and we succeeded in reaching a 5-star chapter recognition within one semester from our previous 1-star ranking. In an attempt to continue my education further than a two-year Associates Degree, I was chosen from a pool of thousands as a semifinalist for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship; later that year I was offered a different private scholarship through TheDream.US to attend Eastern Connecticut State University, at no cost to me. In another two years’ time, I will graduate with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Bioinformatics. Four years was all it took for me to effectively and irrevocably pursue the education I have proved that I deserve. However, these dreams have an expiration date: every two years, I must go through the taxing process of applying for DACA. Every two years, these dreams may die. Until then, I breathe the heart and soul of my denied ancestors into my studies to keep them alive and to keep them ingrained in my pursuit of the American Dream.