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Latino Professor Shares Some Advice For Those Entering College



Perhaps the greatest privilege as a Latino professor is knowing other Latino/as who managed to succeed and reach the highest pinnacles of academia. Many were kind enough to send me their thoughts, and I post them below. But before you read them, I leave you with some thoughts and practical advice I give to all my freshman students.
Latino students will surely face the same problems all students face; such as time management, social pressure, and the ubiquitous presence of the byzantine bureaucracies you will need to master. But for Latino students, the barriers are many, and the pitfalls can be found everywhere. Even though more Latinos are enrolling into college in greater numbers than ever before, the “pipeline” is still fraught with unique problems for many Hispanic students.
First-generation college students – whose parents have not had a college experience – are particularly disadvantaged by the lack of information systems that other students have built into their lives since childhood. From the mundane everyday advice to the social and professional networks that are pre-loaded into the lives of other students, first-generation students have a lot of catching up to do.
Grades are important because they will open up future opportunities for graduate school and important training programs you may be interested in, but managing life will be your greatest challenge.

I consider myself privileged to be a Latino professor who managed to do well enough in school to continue my studies and eventually get a Ph.D. But hard work will not separate you from the others. Everyone works hard. It will not make you unique.

Your uniqueness will come from within, and the beauty of college is the process of realizing that what makes you special is already inside you. College is about acquiring the tools that will allow you to fulfill your potential. In my experience, this is the most important lesson college will teach you long after you have graduated.
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