Why I have to succeed

I’m not sure succeed is the word…as more so persevere. I have to persevere through graduate school.  I am enjoying it but it is sometimes frustrating, difficult, structured in ways I have difficulties understanding and navigating.

My friend 光  visited me the past few days and I was tempted to skip class (something I don’t do—seriously I went the first four years of undergrad never missing a class) so I could spend the day with him.  But he reminded me of this:

“Out of 100 Chicano/a elementary school students, 44 will graduate from high school, 26 will enroll in either a community college or four-year university, but only 7 will graduate with a bachelors degree; only 2 will complete a professional or graduate degree and 0.2 will earn a doctorate.
…At full professor level, Latinas made up 1,254 of those positions…and white women held almost 40,000 full professorships.”

(Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac, 2009 )

And yes, he did remind me of those exact numbers as we read from “ ‘I don’t belong here’: Chicanas/Latinas at a Hispanic serving Institution Creating Community Through Muxerista Mentoring“.  He scolded me “If ya don’t go you are going to fuck up the statistics, it is vital you go”.
If I don’t go class, my chances of becoming that 0.2 that earn a doctorate is threatened.  I have already defied some odds; I am the first woman on either side of my family to graduate high school (first person–male or female– on my mom’s side), I am the first person on either side of my family to graduate from university, I am the first in my family to attend graduate school…and damn it has been a long winding road.

I want to be part of that 0.2% of Latinas that earn a doctorate.  When 1 out 4 students in K-12 in this country is now Latino and yet they aren’t represented in academia, and I have the opportunity and privilege to be in that role, it isn’t just something I have to do for me, but for my community.  So, yeah I went to class and class was a lot of fun and super stimulating…now if I can just preserver for a few more years.

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