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Dulce Sanabria



What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?  Tell us about your story, and what you think has helped you succeed so far at UP?

College is a challenging territory I am continuing to learn how to navigate. However, being the first in my family to do this is, in it's own kind of way, is an honor. There's a cycle I have learned about where low education leads to low wage jobs which lead to low income leading to low education again for generations. In my eyes, I am the first one able to break that cycle for my family, which is exciting.

My parents come from a background where going to college was not an option whatsoever. My mother, in fact, started working at a young age because her family could not afford supplies necessary for her to even continue onto secondary school. They both come from large families in places where opportunities are limited. Knowing that I am able to enjoy the opportunities they did not have growing up because of their hard work and sacrifices makes it easy for me to want to succeed. Showing them I am grateful for what they have gone through and have done is extremely important to me and helps keep me going. Also, the support I get from them is endless. They have encouraged me from the start to pursue what I am passionate about, with going to college being one of those things.

What does it mean for you to be a part of the FGEN community and to be a FGEN Student Ambassador at UP?

Being in this community has enabled me to feel like an integral part of the whole UP community when I used to feel like an outsider. As a commuter, I felt I was missing out on the fun part of college like meeting new people and making friends. This community has helped me gain a sense of belonging that I was lacking my first semester while commemorating a part of my identity that I feel strongly about. As a student ambassador, I feel excited and hopeful to help others feel connected to this community.

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

My advice is cliche, but it is very true: keep at it! You are here for a reason and have made it this far. Although we face certain challenges that others may not, it makes us just that much stronger. Keeping our motives in mind can help us get through difficult times. Given this though, remember being confused/frustrated/etc. is part of the process of growth: trust it, but don't be afraid to reach out for help.

Has a mentor played a role in your experience at UP?  How so?

My home-base group mentor played a tremendous role in the beginning of my experience at UP. During our meetings, she was always so genuine and quickly became someone I felt I could trust with anything. The information we went over in the meetings also helped, since it helped lay out all the useful resources we have on campus. Reaching out for help is something I need to work on, and though I never felt she didn't want me to come to her, she encouraged me to take advantage of the resources on campus as well.

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

Again, the people in my home-base group, since the beginning of first semester, have become really important to me. My adviser has also been extremely helpful- whenever I have reached out to her for help she has been there to guide me through whatever I was having issues with.

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