BY MARIANA CEJA
Every time I think of Tucson I have mixed feelings, but more than anything I have mixed feelings about the University of Arizona.
I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. My family and I moved to the United States on the day I turned 14.
It was very difficult for me to adapt to a new country with a different culture, odd food and a new language. I remember having to ask for interpretation from students to use the restroom.
I was placed in English as a Second Language classes in high school, and had to learn the ABCs and kindergarten songs such as “Head and Shoulder, Knees and Toes.” It was pretty embarrassing and degrading.
After that, I decided to do my best in learning the language so that I would never be embarrassed again. I went from ESL classes to regular English classes to AP English and literature.
I graduated in the top 25 of my high school class. Of the 500 people in my class, 40 of us went on to a university.
UA provided a full scholarship that paid for tuition and books for my four years of education. The scholarship also included a laptop, a printer and an iPod. I was set.
Two years later, I became depressed and my life went downhill from there. I failed two whole semesters and was disqualified from the UA. I began attending Pima Community College, and hid the truth from my parents.
I finally had to tell my parents after a year of lying about my academic situation. They were surprisingly understanding and told me they would support me in everything I do.
It took counselors and medicine, plus love and support from family and friends, to get out of that hole I was in. It hasn’t been easy but I am pulling myself up little by little.
As my thirst for improvement and success continues, I have taken most of the writing classes offered at Pima and am now taking the journalism classes.
I am doing so much better, and am now in training for my dream job as a Spanish interpreter for Cyracom. I will move to Flagstaff next semester to finish my education and graduate, finally.
Even when my experience in Tucson has been bittersweet, I have met wonderful people. I’ve also learned a lot about life, what independence is all about and how to overcome obstacles.
After this adversity, I feel ready to face anything. Thank you Tucson for all of the learning and the good times.