Raquel Rodriguez: Barriers, Role Models & Mentors

So I don’t consider them barriers, but in a way I do. But like I mentioned before, my parents got divorced at a very young age, and it was a very difficult time for me because I was used to having both parents and in my household. I was the only one affected in a way because my siblings were very young. They were babies, so they didn’t really feel it. But it was very difficult for me. My grades went down and I like throughout my pre-teen years and even my teen years while I was in high school was still kind of hard and difficult . Dealing with that like, oh, one weekend with my mom and working with my dad and sometimes, like, I never got the attention. I guess you could say that I needed for my parents since they were always working. My mom had to work all the time. So I was never really involved in school activities until my sophomore year and TAFE. And like it was, it was kind of difficult for me to go through that because my parents would understand the importance of me being in TAFE, everything that I wanted to do. So I always had to improvise and try to work around their schedule, but also do things that I wanted to do because it was for my education. And so that’s one of the barriers that I had to go through and just as well for applying for college. I’m a first gen, so my parents had no idea. They don’t speak English, they understand it. But there’s some things that they don’t understand or they don’t understand how the system works, how the application works, how for everything, for FAFSA, for the university. So I was on my own and it was difficult because unfortunately, sometimes the counselors wouldn’t help. So you had to figure it out on your own. And thankfully, I had friends and an amazing teacher that guided me through that, that they had already. Maybe they had siblings that had already done it. So they were more knowledgeable about that and they guided me through it. They showed me how to do it, what classes they needed, what they offered, what I needed to do in order to get where I am, where I am now. And I’m very grateful for that because they were in a way I’m here because of them. And if I wouldn’t have crossed paths, crossed paths with them, I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I’m at right now.

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