Best friends overcome the odds to begin their UCLA journey

Best friends overcome the odds to begin their UCLA journey

October 22, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


– That’s so aesthetic. – What the heck?! I hope that when my bunk bed is on top
of yours that I become a snorer and you can’t sleep. Oh you’d better not or else I’m requesting a room change. Do it! I met Robert the summer going into my freshman
year of high school. We went to rival high schools in the same school district. Summer school before ninth grade because we were both taking an AP class freshman
year. My friends dared me to go into the other group of students from the other school. So I did and little did I know I made one of the closest friends I’ve ever had. I thought he was like some weirdo because he just came out of nowhere. But we realized that we both did cross country and then we both got politically active around the same time. We’re really close and we were always
for over a year we were thinking about hey it’d be really cool if like we got
into UCLA and be roommates together. In late March, Robert and I we met up to
open our UCLA acceptance or denial at the time. I decided I wanted to go first. I love you, mom.
I love you, apa. So, I clicked. I opened it. I saw “Congratulations.” I was in disbelief. I got in. I felt it in here. I couldn’t get any words out I was just covering my mouth. I was
so excited. And I told Robert I got in he was all, “Woo, let’s go.” And then I was like, OK, I got in but is Robert gonna get in? I tried to not think about it too much because I hoped that whatever happened would be for the best. Oh! That’s weird! And once I did get in I was really
happy and I felt like I accomplished something. That’s my best friend! It feels so surreal to be here at the best
public university in the world. Sometimes I look around I see all these people that look so smart and and confident in how they’re walking. I’m still a little bit
lost as to where I’m going and a little bit of impostor syndrome kicks in but I
realize that I worked really hard to be here. I deserve to be here I’m going to
make the most of my opportunities. Even though I’m here there’s still a lot of
disadvantages. A lot of first-gen students we come from low-resource schools so you
feel like you might not be up to par with the academics. But there’s this huge
love and support that you get as a first-gen student from all your family because
they all are willing to sacrifice anything and everything they have to
help you succeed. My family grew up in Mexico. Often times they wouldn’t have
enough money to put food on the table. They would go to sleep hungry and I know
that I wouldn’t be able to be here and have opportunities I have at UCLA
without what my parents and their parents did for me. All my family has been very
excited for me to come to UCLA. They look back on their childhood and seeing that
their son is coming to such a great university makes them happy and it makes
everything … makes it worth it. (rooster crows) I don’t really like animals at all but
I’ve lived with them forever so I’ve gotten used to it.
I feel like growing up in a Mexican family there’s always this feeling that
you have to continue this sort of legacy like I should ride horses, go to rodeos,
like chickens and whatnot. I always felt that pressure that I had to fall into
that role but I knew that my passions were different and my family supported
me. They love that I’m going back and doing something for my
community. I have two older siblings and when my mom got pregnant with me she
decided she wanted to go back to college because our income wasn’t really
sufficient for three children. She decided she want to be a nurse so she
went to community college. And she got her degree at 40. Seeing my mom work so hard really inspired me to go to college. It’s just
something I’m always gonna keep to heart. Our upbringing was always as a low
income and we knew that education would make a
difference in his life. Education will open doors for you and that will never
be taken away from you. Sometimes the odds are stacked against you. Disproportionately, there’s not really really a lot of people of color in that much power. For anyone that grew up low income, a family of immigrants or from an area
with less privilege in their education just know regardless of your
surroundings, if you really, really want to achieve something and you have people
that support you find your network … Sky’s the limit. Coming to this university with
my best friend, Hector, is surreal because we’ve both gone through so much since
before freshman year and seeing that all that has paid off and we’re now here at
UCLA ready to make change here and going back to make change in our community and
it feels like we’ve reached this milestone and we’re ready to continue to
reach the next one. (laughs) You walk so slow! – I’m not racing, we’re just walking. You gotta get to class on time.