Never forget where you came from, be proud of who you are  

Jaynell Perara, Columnist

As college students, we are always bombarded with homework, tests, extracurricular activities, bills and more.

It seems like we are always struggling to meet deadlines.

It is easy to get involved in everything else that we have going on in our lives, and we often forget the reason why we are going to school.

We do everything so our parents know they did a good job raising us.

At least, I do.

And in the end, I just want to hear them tell me that they are proud of how much I have grown up.

I have never been a straight-A student. I was never on the honor roll. I never got trophies for my accomplishments. All I ever got were ribbons and “thanks for trying” certificates.

But now, I understand how important it is to get an education.

My parents did not have the opportunity to seek higher education. My father never made it past the tenth grade, my mother never made it past eleventh grade and my sister never made it past her first year of college.

Because of this, my family saw the importance of me going to college. Today, I am blessed and privileged to be enrolled in a university to work toward completing my bachelor’s degree.

I am a millennial, a Hispanic female, born and raised in Miami, Fla.

Growing up, I was never wealthy, but both of my parents managed to get stable jobs that kept food on the table. Our income allowed us to learn how to save and not overspend, placing us in the lower middle class.

I am the proud product of two immigrants from Cuba.

Every holiday we have “congri, yuca con mojo y puerco en la caja China” which is rice, black beans, cassava and pork. My parents mispronounce simple words because Spanish is their first language. I always laugh when they say “Guol-mar” instead of “Wal-Mart.”

All my life I have lived surrounded by people who look like me, talk like me and live like me. I grew up going to church every Sunday morning.  I was baptized, received my first communion and participated in confirmation. My family is very tight-knit and Catholic.

I was taught basic table etiquette, meaning I had to wait until everyone sat down at the table and their plates were placed in front of them before I was able to eat.

My mother has always told me, “Tu no eres mejor que nadie, pero nadie es mejor que tu,” which translates to, “You are not better than anyone, but no one is better than you.”

I was taught not to judge people. People all around the world are raised in different ways and they embrace their culture, just like I embrace my own. I have always found joy in learning about other people’s ways of living and understanding why people think and act the way they do.

The point I am trying to make is that you should never forget where you come from. Your roots are engraved into who you are as an individual. You are a combination of both your parents.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I always do what I can to please my parents and make a good impression. Their sacrifices will never go unnoticed.

Jaynell Perara is a junior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]