Two Paths: A Teen Father in Pursuit of Hope

Shared by Alex Serna - 10/25/2016

As the first members of my family to attend college, my path to graduating from UC Berkeley with my B.A. and UCLA with my M.Ed was untraditional and started when I realized I had the intentional to succeed and was "college material" when I was a student at Santa Ana College, a Hispanic Serving Institution. I was a lost student in high school, I didn't know what the SAT/ACT, A-G, AP classes or the like were, nor did I care. Even though, both my immigrant parents encourage me to attend college, I didn't see myself as a college student. The only reasons why I attended school was to maintain my 2.0 GPA so I could play football and wrestle.

When I graduated in 2006, I was uncertain of my future and unmotivated to look beyond to a successful life. However, at 17 I found out I was going to be a dad. Quickly, I realized that I had to do something in order to support my daughter and enable her to have a better life. That basic idea spurred my determination to attend college. I enrolled at Santa Ana College the following fall term. I soon realized that I was in a place that support students like me, students who had no family members in college, students with children, students from my Latino/a background. I soon found myself in a "History of Mexican American People" taught by the 25th Latina to receive her Ph.D in history in the US. I was soon enveloped in the story of my community and empowered by the many possibilities ahead. I immediately became studious, determined and motivated to attain my B.A. I got involved with many community and school organizations to further develop my skills.

Through my 3 years at Sana Ana College I came across several counselors, professors and college staff with similar experiences and backgrounds who all excelled in life. I can say that I would not be who I am today without the positive and impactful experience I had at Santa Ana College, a Hispanic Serving Institution.