College Beat: College from a First-Generation Perspective

By Yaratzeth Ortiz, Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX) Graduated August 2020 Major in Biology and Minor in Chemistry

Yaratzeth Ortiz, Denton, TX, 2020.

El tÌtulo mas valioso que puedes tener en la vida es ser ‘buena persona“. No te lo da la universidad, te lo otorgan tus valores.” My name is Yaratzeth Ortiz, I’m a Microbiologist and first-generation college graduate from Texas Woman’s University with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Being a first-generation college student is hard, having to pave your own path is hard, but everything feels so easy when God gives you hope, wisdom, family, friends, and love to build that path with.

College has taught me that obstacles will always be around every corner, but obstacles are not impossible to overcome. God has taught me that everything with him is possible. My parents have taught me that unconditional love will get me through the hard days. My friends have taught me that taking a break and enjoying life is possible, as long as you remain focused on your objectives.

My family taught me that no matter the distance or the time spent apart, family will always be there for you. Because that’s what college is. Overcoming obstacles, having God by your side, having parents that love you, having friends that will make days fun, and having family that supports you unconditionally. College is a luxury that not everyone can afford, and it takes a lot of mental strength to simply get your foot in the door. Being a first-generation college student has been challenging.

The biggest challenge was to learn how to be independent, broadening my horizons, and having control of myself in several different aspects. Before you start college, you are used to your parents doing (almost) everything for you and when you enter college and realize that you have to start doing everything for yourself, by yourself. Like cleaning, cooking, laundry, studying, etc. College makes you expand your horizons physically, mentally, and intellectually.

Yaratzeth and her family (L-R), Alan Ortiz, Me, Valeria Ortiz, Maria Martinez, Homero Ortiz at TWU’s Turn Your Tassel at the Top. Dallas, TX, 2020

You realize that your brain is growing and becoming mature all while seeing every single different aspect of life because you never know if tomorrow something will help you expand your horizons exponentially. Once you learn to do this, you learn to separate your priorities, which is to focus on school, while keeping your eyes open to all the bad influences around you. When you learn to control all of these obstacles that life throws at you, there comes a moment where you start feeling a little more like an adult and realize how to deal with all of this. I’m thankful that at 22 years old I have accomplished several aspects in life as a professional, and we should all be conscious that life continues, even if one goal might have already been met for now. Although college might seem scary, it’s simply just another obstacle given by life itself, it’s up to you to choose how to overcome it.





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