It’s been almost four years. Wow has time passed! In just five months, I’ll be walking the stage with my diploma and I still can’t believe it. Yet, this academic and personal journey wasn’t easy. To put it into perspective, I traveled 1,400 miles away from home to attend my dream school to study Mechanical Engineering. However, what made it a difficult journey was that I was traveling the road that hadn’t been traveled before by my family. This road otherwise known as college. Due to my parents’ financial circumstances, they had only received an elementary education. They had to lend a hand in their farms or parents’ business to be able to have a meal for that day. So for them, it was hard to receive a higher education.

Nevertheless, my parents knew that education was the key to success so they would always do anything to help me achieve this. They have been my biggest support system growing up because although they could not help me academically, they were always there to take me to academic competitions, volunteer events, sports practices and more. As a child, they realized how passionate I was for STEM ever since I went to Home Depot workshops on Saturday mornings. My dad would often take me because he knew how excited I got to learn to build something new and how things worked. As I grew older, my passion grew tremendously. I decided to compete in engineering competitions and volunteer at our local science museum. My parents honestly didn’t know exactly what I would do at these places, but all they understood was that it made me happy.

Now looking back at these 22 years of my life, there’s so many people I give thanks to such as my educators, friends, but if anything, I want to give a special thanks to my parents. I tell them every day and they just blush and move on with the conversation. They don’t realize that the reason I have gotten this far in college is because of them. From waking me up early to go volunteering to letting me travel to academic summer camps to even just making me smile. Although they are not physically with me, the daily phone calls give me life. They pick me up when I am having a bad time or make me laugh tremendously no matter the time of day. My parents are two amazing people that I wish I can give the world to as they deserve nothing but the best. I love them dearly and although I was unable to be home for this Thanksgiving holidays; I know they knew we were in each other’s’ hearts. No matter the distance, we will be there for one another. They’re my superheroes and I owe it to them for making me the young woman I am today. Te amo Mari Cruz y Jose Bolaños !