I t was through a Minorities in the Media class that I met a knowledgeable and approachable professor, Dr. Christopher Burnett. Over time, he became my mentor and someone I can count on for any type of academic counseling or advice. He is the type of individual who values what I have to say and will talk with me about current events and my career over lunch.
I was 11 years old when my parents made the huge decision to migrate to this country. They did not realize how it would affect me. I still remember trying to hang on to my mother’s sweatshirt when she informed me that she would be enrolling me in a middle school that did not offer bilingual education. Education and the English language became my priorities. I can never thank my mother enough for giving me one of the most important challenges in my life.
Without a college fund and because of my inability to qualify for financial aid, the road to a college degree has been a long one for me. One of the main resources that has made college an economic possibility is the number of various scholarships available to students. The time I spent looking for scholarships was well worth it. The scholarships I have received from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Long Beach City College, the California Chicano News Media Association, the CSULB Journalism Department and the Los Angeles Times/Frank Del Olmo Scholarship Fund have placed me closer to that desired college degree. Getting involved in programs such as Partners for Success is a key factor in the scholarship application process when you need those precious letters of recommendation. From washing dishes to working construction jobs, every single one of my work experiences has made me value education. A good education, and only a really good one, allows human beings to explore the different cultures that make up this society. It gives us the tools to freely navigate society with an open mind and a constant eagerness to learn. Since I am majoring in journalism, I have been involved with CSULB’s Daily 49er as a columnist and an editorial cartoonist. The work I have done for the Daily 49er has been extremely useful when it comes to scholarships. Scholarship judges do not just want to see straight A’s; they also want to know what you have done outside of your academic load.
My parents have more than made up for their lack of financial support by giving me something more valuable than money. Their constant questioning about my schoolwork lets me know that I can count on their moral support during those stressful days when I am about to throw in the towel. During those sudden “I-just-can’t-do-this-anymore moments,” my parents are there for me. I also cannot sufficiently thank my mentor, Professor Burnett, and several other teachers.
I will be graduating in spring 2010, and I still cannot believe it! When someone tells you that they have faith in you, you cannot help but smile and assure yourself that anything is possible. They have given me wise pieces of advice that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
“Julio is one of the most hard working, dedicated students I have worked with in the Partners for Success Program. He faces many struggles that I, as a privileged white male with U.S. citizen status, never dreamed occurred. I’ve learned a lot from him about his life experiences and, most of all, about his humanity. Whatever he is going through on a given day, he always has a smile on his face and generates positive energy. Staying positive is a quality we all could use as we face our own problems. I’m convinced that his positive energy and work ethic will bring him success in life."