College Life Today: Being a student and an immigrant

Sarai Escalante

Sarai Escalante
Special to the Union

HUMBOLDT STATE – I grew up in Tijuana, Mexico.

No matter where you come from, you belong in college and you deserve an education.

This is something that I have learned throughout the years of being in college and something I believe we all deserve. Thanks to a lot of people who believed in me along the way, I stayed determined and I am in college today. 

I am a first generation college graduate and a first generation in this country. Being a U.S. citizen and an immigrant creates identity conflict sometimes. 

It is very easy to feel like I need to hide where I come from due to the current political and social rhetoric used to describe people like me, but I used to see this part of my identity as something positive with the greatest highlight for me being able to go to college. 

There have been times when being an immigrant felt like a burden, when it became salient that some of my efforts are different than most people because my language is different than most. 

But, I’ve been fortunate to find people along the way who are accepting of who I am and encourage me to be proud of where I come from.

My parents always encouraged me to go to college and to build a better life for myself. They always tell me that as long as I am doing well they have peace of mind. They just want me to be safe, happy, and studying or working on something that I enjoy. 

My love for learning definitely comes from my mother, who showed me the wonders of reading and observing from a very young age. This helped me become the first college graduate in my family and to pursue graduate school. 

Even though I have struggled, I am grateful for the privileges I can enjoy today, and I am determined to show others that they can do it too.

Sarai Escalante is currently a graduate student in the Academic Research program in the Department of Psychology at Humboldt State University. She is one of the students documenting her college experience on social media with Get Ready Humboldt. Find more at



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