It’s taken me about a week to process that I am officially a college undergrad. Me, Gicel, the girl that once upon a time gave up on school because was told that without a U.S. residency you could not go to college. This is my story.
It was my junior year in high school, and everyone was about to start looking into filling out college apps. And so was I. It was an exciting time for students. It was an exciting time for me, until, my college advisor informed me that due to my residency status, my only option would be to apply as a “foreign exchange” student. Yeah right! Applying as a foreign exchange student would cost double the price of regular tuition. Things became real very quickly. I could not go to school, and I could not go out and apply for a job. What was I going to do? I had already waited 12 years for the INS process and still nada. And just like that, my American dream had been shattered.
A year later I finally received my “Permanent Residency”. For those of you that might not know, that means that I would finally be given a social security card. I enrolled at the local community college and was off to doing all the things I once dreamed of doing. But of course, things don’t always go as planned. That same year, love found its way into my heart. From this love, came one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me: motherhood. Robert, my boyfriend at the time (husband now) and myself were both young parents going to school. It only took me one semester to realize that, school had to be put on standby. Nothing else mattered at that time, but that sweet boy of mine. And just like that, I dropped out of college.
After many years of contemplating going back to school and three kids later, I mustered up the courage to enroll once again at the local community college. I hated every minute of it. Not the academic portion, but the fact that I was so much older than my classmates. I was a happy gal when I transferred out, and could not wait for two years to fly by. And there I was on December 7, 2014, thinking about how at 5:20pm I would be walking out as a college undergraduate. I wouldn’t be visiting my advisor to see what classes I would be registering for the next term. Or getting the scoop on next semester’s professors. I would be done. My sweet boy Miles had accompanied me to school that day, and he would be walking out with me at the end of class. To think that he was the driving force behind me dropping out of school, and to have him there by my side at the finish line, well-it meant the world to me. Of course, there are other reasons that encouraged me to finish what I once started. Amongst those reasons are my parents, and my two other babes. But there are special ties, memories, and experiences that are unique and are only shared with certain people. This is the one I share with Miles.
Miles, thank you for letting me know in your own unique way that things would work out for me, for us. I think back at all the songs you used to sing to me at the tender age of 3, and they all make sense to me now… one went a little something like this: “and we’ll all float on alright, already we’ll all float on alright, don’t worry even if things end up a bit too heavy, we’ll all float on alright…” Thank you for guiding me all along.
Who knows what life has in store for me next, but I do know that “we will continue to float on OK”.