Submitted by Rosalie in November 2012
My mother once said to me: “When you get an education, you become a better person, your eyes, ears and mind opens and you discover a new dimension. Then, it is time to move on to the next level in your life”. I was raised in an impoverished but hard-working family. My parents worked hard to support eight children on schoolteachers’ salaries. They both took second jobs to provide for the family’s basic needs. When I was 12 years old my mother died of cancer. Thus began a succession of many barriers that I had to overcome. Being the fourth child, I took it upon myself to learn how to cook and take on other responsibilities to care for the family. I found myself doing things that I never thought I could do, but those challenges made me feel alive and made me a stronger person.
I drew on that strength later on in my life when I came to states. I did not know the language well as I came with our two-year-old son while leaving my eldest son and my wonderful husband behind. Why? It was to pursue a higher education while improving my English. I attended o different universities simultaneously; Rutgers University in New Jersey for English courses, and New York University to attend continuing education courses. Higher education is both a challenge and a passion in my life.
Unfortunately, my husband who had come from the Desert Storm War, started to show some illnesses as a result of the war. I had to return to Puerto Rico to take care of him as my dreams were put on hold. Yes, on hold because I would continue to keep pursuing my dream to acquire my degree one day. I would not surrender. We moved to North Carolina in order that he receive treatment at the VA and Duke Hospital. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, situations and many obstacles.
You can imagine the many obstacles during 16 years while trying to get back to school. In October 2012, everything started to fall in place, doors opened for me. We had economic limitations as being the only support of the house has been tough, but I applied and got a loan through FAFSA. My work supervisor allowed me half day to study and I found a University 10 minutes from my home. This helped me to be close to my husband and son in case of any emergency. The University helped me in all steps to enroll and get the books. My dream came through, after 16 years as I enrolled in Strayer University and started my MBA. When you have a goal in life, don’t surrender, keep trying, God will open a door for you.