CATALINO TAPIA SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION
It was the summer of 2015 when my dad’s financial situation hit rock bottom. He was unemployed because of health reasons, receiving unemployment money that would only last a year. His boss forced him to retire as an arborist, for his own well-being. Ever since, he hasn’t been able to support his family financially, which takes a toll on him because he’d always given everything he had to make sure his family had the necessities they needed. Apart from diabetes, he has gone through: kidney transplants, eye surgeries, broken leg/arm/ribs/back, cracked skull, skin cancer, and the list goes on. A list that was never used as an excuse to support his family.
I was impressed with the way I dealt with this financial setback during my last two years of high school. I was going to school 45 hrs./week, working 16 hrs./weekend, and playing competitive soccer. I coped with the stress and managed my time effectively. Additionally, I learned to apply my time management, responsibility, and dedication skills in college. My academic drive and self-motivation positively display my grades performance.
Now I'm in my third year of college and that ball of motivation and determination continues to roll. Consistency can be difficult to maintain. As courses become harder and build on each other, it is crucial I remain focused on my goals. I have maintained a 3.64 GPA, completed all of my GE’s, declared as a Business Management Economics major, and excelling in my upper division courses. This past fall quarter I received a 4.0 GPA!
It's the obstacles of the past that have kept me going. It’s clear that as a first- generation low income minority in higher education I’d come across more obstacles. Some are psychological, including doubting myself (stereotype threat) and also the pressure of having to work twice as hard compared to other “superior” peers to achieve the same goal. I have
to remind myself every day that I worked hard to be where I am at and that I will not be part of the statistics that shows Latinos are less likely to graduate from higher education. Although this playing field is unleveled, this uphill battle will only push me to overcome it. Just like a quote I resonate with says, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes o against the wind, not with it” (Henry Ford).
Being the first in my family to attend a university is something that I wish will be the start of a norm. My older siblings never attended a four year university so being here and performing well is something my family is proud of. In the future I would love to be able to give back to my community. I’ll never forget where I came from, a college preparatory school in my town that was started when less than 10% of the students in the community ever enrolled into college. The odds have always been stacked against us, yet here I am pursuing a bachelor's degree and performing exceptionally. Graduating from a university will open doors to places where I’m asked to use my brain instead of my hands. In the future, my dream job is to work in the sports industry in a finance or marketing team because I’m passionate about sports and would love to apply my passion in economics along with it. I cannot wait to be able to give back to my community that made me a determined, motivated, humble, and driven individual. It’s a great way to water the seeds in the community and watch it flourish.