Dulce Sanabria Garcia '21

Dulce Sanabria GarciaMajor: Biology

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?

Being a first generation student is a small portion of my identity, but it is one of the defining aspects of my time at the University of Portland. It has been a confusing, frustrating, and exhausting experience that I am proud of, and empowered by. The opportunity for me to be standing on this campus rode on my parent's backs and hard work, and I have felt the weight of my own expectations to make them proud from before I even began high school. What has been the most important to me to succeed was finding a community of support. Especially living off campus my four years, finding people that made me feel heard, supported, and connected to campus were essential in helping me succeed.

What does it mean for your personally to be a part of the FGEN community and, specifically, to be a FGEN student ambassador?

Being a part of this community has allowed me to feel connected to this campus, which had been hard for me previously. It has also given me an opportunity to support students who are going through similar challenges as I have, and I have formed many wonderful connections through the program. For me, being an FGEN ambassador is a way for me to give back to my community while also rooting myself in a part of my identity I'd like to celebrate rather than resent.

What is your advice to FGEN students at UP who are facing challenges?

To reach out! When things get stressful and overwhelming and you need help with whatever it may be, please reach out. This is actually something I have struggled with, and I have to be purposeful about reminding myself that asking for help is okay. It is normal. If you don't know where or who to ask for help, this is a good place to start. You can reach out to Matt, SARC, or even myself.

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?

Absolutely. I was able to relate to her deeply as a fellow Latinx FGEN student. She would always offer a listening ear and a helping hand, and for that I am so grateful to her. I have mentioned before how I am an off-campus student, and because of that I felt disconnected from campus, especially my first year here. My mentor was one of my first friends, and she was one of the reasons I continue to get involved with the FGEN community.

What resources have been significant, meaningful or helpful for you so far during your UP experience?

SARC, specifically Hunter and Matt from SARC have been helpful people during my experience at the University of Portland. I have also used Career Center resources, and those have been very helpful.