Halloween is my favorite time of the year. In October, I can stop being myself, forget the adversity and transform into someone or something different for a night. This year, however, I chose to embrace Halloween by refraining to dress up and deciding to be myself. Why? Because I do not want to be different. I am finally living my dream – I am a first-generation college student obtaining knowledge to make a difference in this world.

First piece of advice: Take advantage of the resources available to you. Be ambitious as if you were trick or treating for candy!

College life is amazing, but also demanding. If you ever find yourself struggling, look for help. There are tons of tutoring services available to you on campus. If you do not understand the lessons, do not be afraid to meet with you professors. They will not bite, unless it is Halloween and they are dressed up as ferocious beasts. They have office hours available for you to bombard. My classes at Brown are bittersweet; they are both rigorous and rewarding. I am learning Portuguese with the hope of studying abroad in Brazil. Please do not count on me in 2014 – I will be in another continent! World Cup, here I come!

Second piece of advice: I understand that it is Halloween, but do not fear your past.

It is important to embrace your struggles. Refer to your life experiences when completing a project. I wrote an essay about how Aristotle’s ideologies are ineffective because he does not acknowledge the plight of immigrants in America. Professors will not judge you. In fact, they will appreciate your candidness and your willingness to share your diverse insights. Be courageous, but also cautious. Some of your peers might be oblivious to your struggles as a first-generation student. Educate them. Express yourself passionately as you advocate for your plight. The resilience I obtained through my struggles have given me the strength to persist at Brown. I encourage you to do the same, even if it is scary like Halloween.