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UC, Irvine

Victor Hernandez

Essay for BAGSF Scholarship Application

Sixteen years ago, my parents and I started a long journey towards the United States. I was only two years old when my parents decided to immigrate in order to provide a better future for my brother and myself. We are from a small pueblo in Jalisco where there aren't many opportunities to receive higher education. For this reason, both of my parents only received a 6th-grade education before dropping out of school to work and help my grandparents financially. They didn’t want the same for us, so they decided to move north and achieve the American Dream, which in their perspective was to be financially stable and to see their kids studying at a university. 

My family came to the United States without any belongings, so they had to start from scratch when they arrived. My father and mother started working and still work as a gardener and janitor, respectively. Both jobs are physically exhausting so my parents are always tired by the end of the day. I know that their jobs are very tough since I have experienced them first hand. Ever since I can remember, I have worked with my dad every Saturday and school break. My responsibilities are to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, water the plants, and recently I’ve been trying to learn how to use the leaf blower. In the beginning, I didn’t want to help my dad because I wanted to hang out with my friends and play videogames on my days off from school. Now I have realized that my dad only wanted to motivate me to work hard in my academics since he believes that education will take me far in life. He also wanted me to learn how to work in his profession so that I can have a job I can rely on if the educational route doesn’t work out. Personally, I’ve learned to appreciate all that I have and I’ve adopted an incredible work ethic that has opened many opportunities for me.

Through education, I hope to make a difference in the tech industry, not only because it is financially lucrative, but because it will allow me to develop new technologies that can improve people’s lives. Studying a STEM major like computer science in college will give me the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the tech industry. I also want to succeed in tech so that I can increase Hispanic representation in the industry and become a role model for younger Hispanic students interested in STEM.

As for my personal goals, I want to be in a financial position where I can buy my parent’s home to show them my appreciation for all their hard work and sacrifice. We have lived in the same one-bedroom apartment for the past 13 years, and although we’ve been comfortable there, it feels pretty crowded at times. My brother and I sleep in the living room, so I have never had the luxury of having my own room or privacy. Overall, I feel grateful for what I have since my parents work so hard to keep a roof under our heads, especially with the high rent prices in the Bay Area. In addition, I have the ambition to be successful in the future so that I can demonstrate that being undocumented shouldn’t limit anyone from accomplishing their goals. Although I am very uncertain of what my future will hold because of my undocumented status, I will continue to work hard and graduate from college because no one can take my education away from me.